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Avatar universal

how long does intense grief last?

I lost my husband suddenly almost four weeks ago. For the first week or two, I think I was in a type of shock. Now, I cry almost daily and it is difficult to control, I just feel so unbelievably sad. We were very close and I miss him terribly. I'm not sure how to get past this feeling although I am really trying. I just can't picture my life without him. To anyone that has lost a spouse, how long does it take to get past these very intense feelings? I don't think it has reached a point as beyond normal, however, I'm finding it hard to answer the question "how are you doing?" yet saying "I'm fine " is a real stretch. Comments?
32 Responses
332074 tn?1229564125
I am so sorry for  your loss, and let me tell you one thing I learned when I lost my dad, I was not fine for a very long time, and I learned it was okay to say I was not fine. People know that you are not fine when they ask, they just don't know what else to say to you. So, give yourself permission to be honest when asked. It may make some people uncomfortable when you say it, but people who really care about you really want to know how you are and if they can help you they will.
Avatar universal
Caroline I'm so sorry for you loss,There's no time table for grief.Give yourself at least a year,their's steps they say you'll go through in your own time.My Mom passed August 14th of last year,its been so hard.I was doing so poorly that I finally decided to go on an anti -depressant,she passed of Ovarian Cancer.My panic attacks became so severe.I had to Do something.The anti-depressant turned my panic attacks into a twenty-four hour event complicated by asthma,not just one or two panic attacks a day like before.Start writing letters to your husband ,God,even just how you feel about the situation.Get your emotions out before they consume you in a journal.Losing your life partner is a big deal.Do what makes you happy exercise,eat healthy,don't booze it up every night,trying to make you smile.The hardest part for me is realizing and accepting that my Mom's not going to knock on the door anytime soon.We have to learn and accept life must be lived in a different way now,were strong women,we can do this,we have no choice to learn to live without them..If I can help you in anyway,let me know and I'll do my best.Big Hugs to you.Jen
Avatar universal
Thank-you both for your replies, you give good advice. I think  I am reaching a point where I have to really accept what happened and begin letting go. The sadness will be with me for a long time maybe even the rest of my life but I have to decide it is time to begin living again. I know for sure this is what my husband would want me to do because he was one that really enjoyed life.

I am very sorry for your losses too. Whether a death is sudden or caused by and illness, it is really tough when it is someone we love. Coping is so difficult at first that we don't know if we'll ever be able to go on.

I understand how painful it is to lose a parent as I have lost both of mine. It was five years ago last week that I lost my Mom. She was on life support the last two years of her life and this was very difficult because I was forced to make decisions for her. It was my husband that was supportive of me then and I really drew off his strength. I was just beginning to have peace with her passing just recently. In contrast, my Mom really suffered. My husband did not, he had a massive heart attack and they tell me he did not know what happened or did he feel pain. I am thankful for that.

165308 tn?1323190145
I agree so much with Jimi..you are NOT fine and you won't be fine for a very long time...and that is ok...it is all a process.  I say you need to feel what you need to feel and cry when you want to...don't hold back...Your loss is so new and your pain is so raw.  It will get better, in time.  I haven't lost my spouse, but I have lost my parents.  I found that you take it one day at a time. To this day, I can't think about "forever" without them.  I live in the moment.  live in today, and know that i will get through it.  Don't think about tomorrow...it is too overwhelming.  Think of this moment only...and tomorrow will take of itself. Take care.
Avatar universal
Hi there.  I am so sorry to hear about your loss.  I lost a dear man who was like a dad to me over a year ago and I still miss him.  His wife, his life partner for more than 36 years, was devastated and I had to be strong for her and I helped her in any way I could.  I told her that if she wanted to cry, to do so and to take a day at a time.  

Nowadays, she still misses him and at times, she still cries, but she has come a long way since then.  She tries to keep herself busy, with her daughters and grandchildren, doing things around the house and going out to get distracted.

It isn't easy and I found the best way to deal with his death was cherishing his memories, keeping him in my heart and talking to him.  I know he is listening and that someday I'll see him and we'll be able to enjoy his company as I did.

So don't rush into anything and take one day at a time.  It comes a time when things will get easier, and you'll be able to go on with your life.  But keep him close to you and take him everywhere you go.

Take care,

Avatar universal

I lost my mum nearly three years ago to cancer when I was 17. I still feel like she died yesterday and I remember her so very clearly. You will never forget your loss and no one expects you too! I always remember all the good times we had together which at first made me upset but now these good memories of her put a gentle smile on my face. I'm sure one day you'll realize everything is okay.
696092 tn?1238620367
dear caroline, I am so sorry. There are no words that can comfort and no pills for the pain.... the passage of time is the only soother. I lost my little brother on 15th August last year......I still cannot believe he has gone and I miss him so much..even now.
There are so many emotions we have to go through in this awful journey of grief, and,emotions completely alien to us before our loss. The loneliness and despair you must be feeling is so painful..but it's a rollercoaster. One day it's less painful than the day before, the next day..it's twice as bad. Don't pretend to be fine,don't suppress your grief...I personally found it prolonged the agony. When you feel that you can let go and not bear this terrible burden alone, and hopefully have a loving, supportive network of friends and family, you will start, in time, to heal. God Bless xx
760723 tn?1235236325
I am so very sorry for you lost. My heart goes out to you.
Like so many has said, it is ok to not be fine. It will take some time to be fine. Let your self take what ever time you need, and know it is ok.

I lost my best friend Aug. 07 and I am only starting to be some what ok, Ok I am kind of in the angry stage now. It can be so hard some times to think of him, but I can't seem not to think of him. The first Christmas was the hardest, and I am one of the biggest Christmas nuts I know, but I just wanted that first Christmas to pass, I felt so bad, thinking how can I celebrate with out him here. I just couldn't, and any one that knew me and knew what I lost, understood.

He was only 48 when he past, it was a total shock, so please give yourself the time you need, and be kind to yourself, your husband would what that for you.

Gentle hugs, 2Pegasus
Avatar universal
Thank- you all so much for your replies and support. It does help to know others can relate and understand. I have made some progress, but it seems so much like back and fourth. I am still not in control of my emotions and am feeling stressed out with all the paper work and all. I cry just looking at our pension accounts and other financial paperwork because I think he worked so hard for this and now doesn't get the opportunity to enjoy it. Everything I see or do reminds me of him. I just miss him so much.

I try very hard to contain myself around family members and friends, but I think they are thinking I am doing very well. I really don't want to worry anyone because I do know that eventually I will be OK. There really isn't anything anyone can say or do that would make me feel better anyway. All the bereavement cliches in the world, like take one day at a time, keep yourself busy, time will heal and is there anything I can do? don't seem to help, although well intended, I understand. Broken hearts do heal eventually but at different paces.

I am not trying to supress grief, it's just that I've been crying so much and it really zaps my energy and ability to concentrate. I only hope that soon, I will be able to be in better control of my emotions. I never thought the day would  come so soon that I would be without him. I just wasn't prepared for all this.
Avatar universal
I am sorry for your loss.  I lost my partner suddenly on May 27, 2008.  8 Months ago.  I can tell you that it does get easier with time.  I was in shock for the first few weeks as well.  I was the one who found her on the couch.  Anyway, I got this book called "I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye"  It was a huge help.  You can order it on half.com
I can also tell you, you are not the same person as you were when he was here on earth.  Your life has changed and so have you.  If you are religious, just know that he is looking down on you, keeping you safe.  Like I said, it is hard to let go.  Do so slowly.  I am slowly letting things go.  Time does heal, but you will always, always miss him.
Avatar universal
Thanks, crystal and I am sorry for your loss too. You bring up some good points, about not being the same person and about letting go. I think they have to be two very important issues and I have thought about them yet never could quite put into words these feelings. We kind of do battle with ourselves because we don't want our lives to change, we want to be the same person and we want our partners by our side. This is probably why we are unable to let go. By letting go, we are preparing ourselves for a life without them but because this is not what we want, we continue to hold on. Do you think, and this may sound a little crazy, that deep down we hope they will somehow come back? Or do we feel guilty about letting go for some reason?

I am trying to sort through alot of these feelings so I can make sense of them. I keep telling myself that my husband did not suffer and if you have to go, that's probably the best way. At the same time I think, but why now? I will have to look for that book, thanks for the suggestion.

Avatar universal
I still think any day now she will walk in the door and say"Ha Ha I got ya!"  But deep down I know this is not going to happen.  Everytime I do something to let go a little more..I do feel guilty.  This has been the hardest thing I have ever had to go through and I know I NEVER want to do it again.  It *****.  I want to be the old careless me.  But that will never be.  You have to get used to the "new" you.  Just give it time.  It does get a little easier everyday.
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