Grief is a universal experience for people, but the way we experience it is unique to each person. Many of us are familiar with the five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance - but these aren’t steps that we all experience in the same way, or even in the same order. Grief isn’t linear; it’s a complex, deeply personal experience that we carry with us throughout our lives.
As much as we might want it to, a grief journey doesn’t follow a timeline. There is no definitive time in which your grief will lessen, or in which you’ll move from one stage of grief to the other. Griefhealing.com offers these wise words about grieving and time: “Time is neutral. It is not the passage of time alone that heals. It is what you do with time that matters.”
There is no right or wrong way for you to use your time to deal with grief - you just have to go through it in the way that is right for you. Use the support systems available to you to help you determine what actions, acknowledgements or reflections may help you along your grief journey. You can speak with trusted faith leaders, a grief counselor/therapist, support groups, friends or family. Acknowledge your grief and that your loss has changed your life in a way that only you can truly understand. Take the time you need and use the supports you have to help you move forward.
Reaching the final stage of grief, acceptance, doesn’t mean that one day you’ll wake up and the grief is simply gone. Instead, grief is there, with us always. With acceptance, grief doesn’t disappear, but its intensity is lessened and we are more easily able to move forward, recognizing that our lives are changed without our loved ones here, but that we still have a life to live. Sad, hard moments will still be inevitable and are absolutely okay to experience - you will be grieving in some way for the rest of your life.
Dealing with grief is a lifelong journey for all of us. It’s a journey that we all grapple with in our own way, hopefully finding peace and comfort as we move forward each day without our loved one.
If you are on a grief journey, Conroy-Tully Walker offers several resources on our website to help support you. If we can be of further assistance, please reach out. The dedicated staff at Conroy-Tully Walker is always here to speak with you. We can be reached at (207) 773-6511.