The Webster Dictionary defines Grief as the following…
n 1. keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow or painful regret.
This is just one of the definitions; yet what is not defined is the duration.
Grief has no unified ‘expiry date’ that it adheres to; it stays with one as long as it is required too, despite what most of society deems appropriate.
I once was someone who felt that after a year one should be able to move on with his or her life; recently I have discovered just how cold that does appear; and I feel sorrow and regret for my previous behaviour.
Grief affects everyone differently; sometimes it manifests in tears…and sometimes in weird behaviours. It can stay as short a time as merely weeks…and sometimes stays as long as a decade or more. My paternal grandparents had been married 57 years when my grandpa passed; eleven years on and my grandma still grieves the loss. My maternal grandparents had been married 62 years when my grandpa passed; and my grandma – despite suffering from Alzheimer’s – grieved until the day she died six years later. My mother lost her husband (my step-dad) two years ago and still mourns him. I too grieve these losses if not as acutely.
A cousin lost her husband 7 years ago; and while she has moved on with her life; she too has her moments of grief even now.
A good friend of mine lost three people who were very dear to her in the space of two months. All this while trying to run a summer program for children for the library where she is currently employed. That is a lot of grief for one person or family to absorb all at once while also maintaining a professional appearance to the outside world.
It is my hope that society will see that grief knows no bounds; and those who experience it have no time line as to when they will be done with it and to be understanding to those who are going through it.