How Long Does It Take To Work Through the Stages of Grief?


There is no right way to grieve.  There is no time limit to grief.

The rest of the world may want you to “get over it” and rejoin the living, but you will grieve until you have allowed the grieving process to heal you.

That can be challenging, because grief hurts so much it feels like it will kill you.  It is hard to “allow” an emotion that feels so harmful.

It is hard to allow the stages of grief.

Denial feels so much better than grief within the moments that your heart is breaking.

Lena was very close to her family.

Her parents had a very deep love, and they shared that Love with her and her younger sister.

When her Father passed, her Mother wasn’t far behind.  She said she knew her mom wouldn’t stick around without him.

Lena felt orphaned.  Her grief was so deep and wide that she thought it would swallow her whole.

Lena’s sister passed only a few years after her parents, and then her grief became un bareable.

If something came up that reminded her of her beloved family, she would withdraw, and make every attempt to change the subject.

Lena associated grieving with depression and felt that the only way to avoid sinking back into that dark place was to stuff the feelings of grief that would surface from time to time.

On the surface, this method appeared to be effective for Lena.  She lead an active life and enjoyed writing and networking even after she retired.

The problem was that every significant date on the calendar sent her seeking a bottle of wine.  I wasn’t aware of which dates were significant to Lena, other than Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, but if I found her a bit glassy eyed with a wine glass in hand, I knew that today was a significant day and Lena was drinking away her grief.

Since she has been living this way for 30 years, Lena is not going to admit she is feeling grief.  She is simply avoiding depression.

Lena may never allow her grief to heal her.  She has become accustomed to feeling numb.  It feels better than the alternative to her.

Are You Allowing the Stages of Grief to Heal You?

Each stage of the grieving process is normal.  If you can allow whatever you feel without judgment you will heal much faster.

Do you see yourself stuck in the process, or are you allowing grief to heal you?

The 7 Stages of Grief:

1. Denial and Isolation

This is actually very normal and expected.  The onset of grief causes you to withdraw.  Much like burning yourself, grief makes you pull back.

This process can happen within a few moments, or it can take much longer.

2.  Anger

Whether you feel mad at your loved one for leaving you, mad at the world for going on without them, or mad at God for a taking them, anger is a normal part of the grieving process.

It is also normal to blame yourself, even if it is unrealistic and irrational.  Perhaps nothing could have been done to alter the circumstance, even so, blaming yourself is not at all unusual.

3.  Bargaining

Your unrealistic and irrational feelings may take a while to work through.  Bargaining with God to take away your loss may sound nuts, but within the grieving process, this is also perfectly normal.

4.  Depression

When the intense onset of grief begins to subside, a numbness begins to replace overwhelming feelings.

The reality that you will never see your loved one again starts to set in.  It is normal to sink into a period of depression as you adjust.

Sharing happy memories can actually be helpful at this stage.  Though friends and family may avoid talking about your lost loved one, it might be exactly what you need.

Encouragement to “move on” or “get over it” is NOT helpful at this stage.  Resist the temptation to stuff your feelings to appease others.

Honor your healing process so you can heal.

5.  Turning the Corner

There comes a time in your grieving process where your physical symptoms begin to subside.  You may even find yourself feeling guilty for hurting less.

Be encouraged.  This upward turn is also a natural part of the grieving process.

6.  Reconstruction

When you see yourself facing the heart wrenching task of going on without your loved one, you know you are moving into the phase of restructuring your life without them.

As painful as this can be, it is especially important to honor this part of the process.  If your loved one lived a distance from you this can be a little more difficult.  It is harder to believe they are really gone.

A memorial or just a collection of pictures can help you to put life without them into perspective.  Do some journaling if it helps you to process.

7.  Acceptance and Hope

When you can remember your loved one with a genuine smile on your face you know that acceptance and hope have begun, and that is a true sign of healing.

Time heals, but only if you allow it to.

Do you need help to keep your grieving process moving?

Stuffing emotions of grief will make you sick!

Get the help your loved one would want for you.

“Move From Grief To Joy” is a program that will serve you during this difficult time.

Click on the link and see if it resonates with you.

Move From Grief To Joy

Be gentle with yourself!


Many blessings,

Carrie Tucker, RCP

The Life Breath Coach

Heart Failure Solutions


PS– Remember everyday:

  • Relax and Release tension
  • Exhale Slowly
  • Be active in a way that adds Joy to your life

Plus pure water ~whole foods~sunshine~and laughter

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4 thoughts on “How Long Does It Take To Work Through the Stages of Grief?

  1. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you so much,
    However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I don’t understand why I cannot join it. Is there anyone else having similar RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    1. Aloha Kathryn,
      My heart goes out to you and your daughter. It is hard to see someone you love in so much pain.

      I hope my post empowers your daughter to honor her grieving process, and supports her as she embraces Joy once more.

      She has work to do, that’s why she is going on without him. I’m glad she has you to reach out to.

      Many blessings,

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