How Long Does Grief Last?

When you lose someone, you love, it can feel like the world has stopped turning and life as you knew it has ended. Grief, the emotional response to loss, can take a toll on your physical and mental health, making it difficult to move forward.

One of the most common questions people have when they experience loss is, how long does grief last?

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The grieving process is highly individual, and the timeline for grief can vary from person to person.

Factors that Affect the Length of the Grieving Process

Several factors can impact the length and intensity of the grief process.

  • Nature of the Loss
    The nature of the loss, such as sudden or prolonged illness or unexpected death, can significantly affect how long grief lasts. If the person had a chronic illness, the grieving process may begin before the actual loss occurs, leading to an extended period of mourning.
  • Personal Circumstances
    Personal circumstances, such as age, relationship with the deceased, and support system, can also affect grief’s duration. Someone who loses a spouse or child may experience a more protracted and intense grieving process than someone who loses an older relative or friend.
  • Culture
    Cultural norms and values can significantly impact the grieving process. Some cultures have specific mourning rituals and expectations that can affect the duration and expression of grief.

What to Expect During the Grief Process

The grieving process involves a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, guilt, anxiety, and loneliness. Here is an overview of what to expect at different stages of the grieving process:

  • Shock and Denial
    After a significant loss, you may feel numb, and it can be challenging to accept the reality of the loss. This phase can last for a few weeks to several months.
  • Anger
    Anger is a common reaction to grief, and it can be directed at yourself, the person who died, or others. Finding healthy ways of expressing and processing anger is crucial to avoid harming yourself or others.
  • Bargaining
    In this phase, you may find yourself bargaining with a higher power in an attempt to reverse or alleviate the loss. You may go through a period of saying I only I had; if only I had not done something, this would not have happened. This phase can be brief or may last for an extended period.
  • Depression
    Depression is an integral part of grief and can involve feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and overwhelming emotional pain. It’s essential to seek support and guidance from a grief counsellor during this phase.
  • Acceptance
    In the acceptance phase, you begin to come to terms with the loss and find ways to move forward with your life. This phase may involve finding ways to honour the person who died or making changes that reflect your new reality.

Coping with Grief

Here are a few strategies that can help you cope with grief:

  • Seek Support
    Grieving is a complex process; support from family, friends, or a grief support group can offer comfort and guidance during this challenging time.
  • Take Care of Yourself
    Taking care of your physical and emotional well-being is vital during grief. This includes getting enough sleep, eating well, and taking time for self-care activities that bring you joy.
  • Express Your Emotions
    Bottling up your emotions can potentially lead to negative outcomes. Finding healthy outlets like journaling, art, or exercise can help you express and process your feelings.


Grief is a natural and complex process that affects individuals in various ways. There is no set timeline for grief, and giving yourself time to mourn and find coping strategies that work for you is essential. With the proper support and self-care, it’s possible to come to terms with a loss and find healing and meaning in life beyond grief.

Having to go through grief and loss can be a daunting experience, but you don’t have to face it alone. Startpoint Counselling has experienced, caring and supportive professionals who are ready and waiting for your call on 3458 1725; book your free 15-minute introductory chat with one of our counsellors today! See how we can provide essential help during an emotionally challenging time.

You’ll be amazed how counselling can change your life

You will find that talking with StartPoint Counselling Beenleigh is your starting point for happy relationships and mental wellbeing.

StartPoint Counselling Practice is conveniently located in Beenleigh, close to Logan, Mt Warren Park, Stapylton, Homeview, Waterford, Loganholme and Yatala areas. However, we also offer phone and telehealth consultations for your convenience. See more about Booking Appointments here.

We offer a 15-minute complimentary phone session with one of our experienced counsellors. Find out how we can equip you to live the life that you choose.