Monday, November 29, 2021

Grief Healing Discussion Group Members Ask, How Long Can We Stay?

A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.  ~ Brene Brown

Those of us in mourning often wonder how long the pain of grief will last. As I’ve often observed, I think this is like asking how high is up, because the time it takes to process grief simply cannot be measured. Grief has no timeline, and for most of us, we’ll never stop loving and missing the one we have loved and lost. Nor will we ever stop needing the understanding and support of others, even as we worry that our needs might one day exceed their willingness and capacity to help.

If you decide to join a grief support group, you may wonder: How long can you expect whatever support you'll find there to continue? How long can you stay?

If this is your concern, please know that members of our online Grief Healing Discussion Groups are welcome to stay as long as they like. Once they are duly registered with us, their membership is active and valid unless and until they specifially request that it be removed. (It may surprise you to learn that some of our members have been with us for more than a decade!)

The following exchange took place recently in one of our forums. I’ll let our members’ comments to one another speak for themselves:

I had a friend ask me, rather facetiously, how long do we continue on this site, how long does it take? As if there is some magical time frame by which we've crossed the border on taking more than our allotted time... I told her, as long as we long as it takes. You see, we are friends here, this is our family, and grief doesn't know a time table, grief continues. Oh, it might change form, it might ebb and flow, know it's ups and downs, but how can you say a definitive time...a year, three years, five...what difference does it make? Some of us go through other things, new griefs, they add to the original one...and it is our friends here that get us through it...we all get each OTHER through these spots in life. How long indeed? As long as it takes... ~ K   

I know some of us will probably never leave whether it is because we will never fully heal or because we are so grateful for the love and compassion we were shown when we came here that we want to return the favor ourselves to anyone new coming in and joining our family. So to answer How Long? As long as it takes or as long as we are needed!  ~ W

I raise my glass to you, my friend, "Here...Here." When we get to a point when we are somewhat comfortable with things, that's the time to continue to be here - just because we've been there and truly understand. As far as I know, I'll be here for a long time watching for a moment when I might be able to offer a positive proof that we do get through it, and safely. My hat goes off to you, my friend. ~ B

I look at this site in 2 ways one was already mentioned, there will be other grief in life in its ups and downs and people will be here when that happens. I never really thought about how long to stay on this site. I come and go sometimes not posting for awhile. I stay in touch as I am subscribed to this forum on here so I see every new post that comes through in my e-mail. Sometimes I log on and there are so many posts already that have said what I would have said so I don't post. I stay here however to offer hope to someone who is just starting. If us old timers (if almost 3 years can be considered that) if we didn't stay on and it was just those who are fresh in grief how would they know that life ever so slowly does get better? Even at 3 years I still have my ups and downs and I am sure there will be more. So I don't like to put a time frame on any of this, to each there own, we are all different in how long it takes to get better. All of you have been like family to me, have been there for me and I am grateful to have shared a little part of my life with you all, and look forward to continueing to share lifes ups and downs with you. ~ D

I know it has almost been four years for me and there has not been a day that I have not thought of my mom or dad... Today I found out that my friend lost her mom to a massive stroke last Wednesday and the thoughts of losing my mom came all back to me... So I do not know how long grief lasts but to me I think that you will always miss your loved one but you learn to deal with the loss better as time goes by... I hope this helps... ~ S

My hat goes off to you for telling that person, as long as it takes, some people just don't know what to say. I am so gratful you are here and was here when I got here, you have been a great help to me. And whom ever said that must have not had a lost because they will know it takes whatever it takes and however long it takes. It it not all the time we talk about our grief just our life and that is how long it takes a lifetime. Proud of you for setting that person clear. Everyone thanks for being here I need you all.  ~ J

I have had similar questions, like doesn't it bring me down and make me worse, isn't it prolonging my grief so that I'll never get over it, etc. Like some of the others have said, if you say ONE thing to help someone else along it is all worth it. If it were only newbies how could they help each other. It gives us hope and yet let's us feel normal when we fall backwards. At least we know we have a safety net here. You can say whatever you want and where else can you do that. So if I'm here 30 years from now whose business is it but mine. If I leave here I may leave some friends and I really hope some day to meet some of these people face to face. ~ M

Even if I was completly not grieving (which I doubt very much), our lives have changed forever and we will always miss our spouses. I will still come to this site no matter what. I have found very good friends here and I hope to keep in contact with you all.  ~ T

Ditto to all that was already said. For me, I do believe I will never leave this site. I have found so many friends and my new family here, the compassion, love and growth we all experience together is something I will always cherish. We suffered huge losses already and to leave, isn't that another loss for all of us?????  ~ L

I know I was brought up to believe that you have to "stop feeling sorry for yourself" and "not wallow in your grief". But that's all wrong. I am lucky enough to work at a college where a class on the psychology of death and dying and grief is offered. I took the class, and it was very helpful, and the professor pointed out that it's ridiculous to think that talking about your lost loved one is wallowing, or will "only remind you" of your grief. He said, "Do you think a parent who has lost a child or a wife/husband who has been widowed EVER forgets that for even one minute?"  ~ A

Grieving is not something that has a time frame attached to it and those that think it does have not walked in the shoes of those who have lost their mate/spouse/partner. When people make a comment that implies an ending point for this type of grief I am reminded once again of some of the folks around me who have questioned my grief in the past. This was such a sore point with me that I devote a chapter of two to it in my book  ~ D

Very good question. There are many times when i feel a chasm between well-meaning friends and myself. I can, or did, before DH, spout my opinion about anything and everything. I find myself much more reticent now. It's difficult to explain to those who do love me exactly what I am feeling and going through. I'm struggling to figure it out myself! Plus, if I really said what I thought, I would probably scare the hell out of them. It's funny though (in a very good way) that I can express myself so well here - if there's one thing grief does, it tends to leave the crap behind. The emotions expressed here are raw and true; something not normally done in one's day to day "normal" life. And it's so very much appreciated. Peace, friends, ~ M

How do you always know just the right thing to say to people. You have a gift! I love what A's professor said...He said, "Do you think a parent who has lost a child or a wife/husband who has been widowed EVER forgets that for even one minute?" It's like getting a new pair of eyes. We see everything differently because of what we've endured. ~ C

As others have said, I am thankful for you and other "veteran" members of this site. You do indeed have a gift for knowing what to say to help people cope with their problems. You really hit the nail on the head with this post. Thank you. ~ M

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