It is not uncommon for clients to ask me about how long their grief will continue. There may be expectations from family or well-meaning others that they will return to normal after six months or maybe a year. It is after this expected time that people will return as they were prior to their loss.

David Kessler is a renowned loss expert and has considered that early grief is the first two years after the loss is experienced. However, even given what would be regarded as early grief, this does not mean that we go back to the way things were. Our connections with the people we love change us, and it is not beyond imagination that their death would profoundly change us as well. I think of a wedding reception where the bride or groom relates that their partner has changed their lives forever.

If you have experienced the death of a loved one, expect that things may never precisely return to the old normal. You do have a life that continues, but your loss will become part of that life. Nevertheless, we go on loving, and therefore, we continue to grieve those we love.

I wish you peace.

Tom Fulbrook Ph.D., LCSW