Grief 101: How Long Does Grief Last?

It is also important to understand that there is no set time limit for grief. Grief doesn’t last one month and then go away. Grievers should not be put under pressure to hurry up and move on from grieving by Grief Supporters. Grief is not a staircase that extends from one floor of grieving to the next floor of not grieving. Grief may better be understood as a spiral that circles the griever and widens its orbit as time passes The experiences of grief are intense at first, and they gradually diminish over time. The spiral continues and the hurt and loss still exist, but the emotional intensity of the spiral reduces. Grief takes as long as it needs for the person to move through the process.


As a Grief Supporter, if you find yourself growing frustrated with how long it is taking your grieving friend to “get over” their grief, please take a moment and ask yourself why you need them to move on so rapidly. Perhaps the issue is not with the Griever but with the Grief Supporter’s discomfort with death and grief.

Grief never truly goes away, it just reduces in intensity. Greivers will always feel some pang of sadness–during a time of year, at special events, or even when watching a favorite movie–and that is normal and completely okay.



Published by ancarroll

Alexandra N. Carroll is an author, grief advocate, crafter, mother, and partner. She writes on grief and self-care from her home in Vermont. Her forthcoming book concerns how to untangle life-after-loss through the creation of a strong self-care plan.

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