It doesn’t seem to matter whether you are grieving the end of a person’s life or the end of a deep relationship, the grieving process can feel like the same.
Many years ago, someone told me after the death of a very dear person, “The first week you cry for the person who died. The second week you cry for yourself. The third week you cry for everyone else.” At the time, I thought there might be a lot of truth to that because I had seen so many people cry long past the first couple of months of losing someone.
Since then, I have heard many opinions on the issue. One woman’s fiancé had died a week before their wedding and she never seemed to be able to get over it. A man had been left at the altar and, even after so many years, he still couldn’t let go of it. For them, it wasn’t a case of crying for others after the third week; it was crying for themselves for the rest of their lives.
One woman told me that everyone had been trying to introduce her to other men a year after her husband died but she wasn’t ready to move on and she resented people telling her it was time to do so. She said that no one had the right to tell her when she had grieved enough; only she could make that decision.
In a sense, she was right but in another sense she was wrong. Some people need a few years to come to terms with a person’s death and some seem able to do that in a few weeks. And the grieving process is different for everyone.
My own thought on the matter is that whether it’s the death of a person or the death of a relationship, no one can truly say how long someone should grieve. However, the longer you stay in that anguished frame of mind, the more difficult it is to lift yourself out of it. There may come a time when it becomes necessary to force yourself to start living without the one you lost so that the healing process can begin.