Will grief ever go away?

When people experience the death of someone they know, the feelings of grief may feel intense, extremely painful, or even overwhelming. A question we often get asked by grieving young people is, “Will grief ever go away?”.

This question doesn’t necessarily have a straightforward answer. For some people, certain feelings go away after a short amount of time, whilst for others they could last for several years. Grief isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ and can be something that is part of your life forever.

Many people have said that the painful feelings they have when grieving get less and less over time. They sometimes notice that they have whole days or weeks where they don’t feel sad. This doesn’t mean that they don’t grieve. Certain days or special occasions, such as Christmas, or the anniversary of the person’s death, can suddenly trigger these difficult feelings again. This can feel scary, and people worry that their grief is coming back and that they aren’t ‘over it’.

We call this ‘growing around grief’.

In many people’s experiences, they feel that their grief doesn’t ever go away. Over time, the person can start to think about the future, can focus on normal things like school or work, and enjoy the things they used to. There will be tough days occasionally, where those painful feelings come back (like when they are really missing that person). But those feelings are likely to only last a couple of days, and then they settle down.

This is growing around grief. The grief hasn’t gone away, but it feels smaller inside us, only surfacing occasionally. It is therefore very natural to find that difficult days come, even years after the person has died.

There are additional things that can help the grief to feel smaller. Talking with people who can offer care and support when you are having bad days can help, as well as connecting with other grieving people who have also experienced the death of someone. Expressing our feelings can be helpful to manage grief. As well as self-care activities that can help us to look after ourselves.

Getting grief support from Winston’s Wish

Winston’s Wish is a charity that helps children, teenagers and young adults (up to the age of 25) find their feet when their worlds are turned upside down by grief. Through information, on-demand services, bereavement support and counselling, we support young people to understand their feelings, process their grief and find ways to move forward with hope for a brighter future. All of our support is available online, so we can support children and young people across the UK no matter where they live. We also help the adults who are caring for young grieving people including parents, school staff and healthcare professionals.

If you are a young person or are supporting a child or young person who is struggling with their grief, please call us on 08088 020 021 (8am -8pm, weekdays), email ask@winstonswish.org or use our live chat (8am-8pm, weekdays). We are here to help and can provide guidance, support, and resources.

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