Is there some magic amount of time to grieve a death, or the break up of a relationship, the break up of a family, loss of a job, financial downturns, loss of a pet?  I’m talking about grief and loss, hurting, struggling, pain, sadness, anger.  How long does it take to “get over” someone or something?

Would it be helpful for you to know that grief takes as long as it takes?  I often have people ask me what is a normal time to grieve this. I tell them there is not a formula for grieving.  Certainly experience and coping skills can help, but I always get concerned when I hear someone say, “When you lose a spouse, it usually takes ____ years!”

The length of the grieving process often depends on the nature of the loss, whether or not someone is experiencing multiple losses, the willingness of those grieving to do their “grief work,” and the willingness of family members and friends to give each other permission to grieve and to accept that there are no shortcuts in the grief process.

In the past, some would say that the griever must keep a “stiff upper lip.”  Part of the Christian message is that we certainly grieve, but we do not grieve as those who have no hope.

Grief does not express a lack of faith in God; instead it can lead us to a deeper understanding of our faith, our need for God, and His promise that He will be with us in the midst of our pain and grief, that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Remember, grief takes as long as it takes. As you embark upon your own journey of grief, remember that God wants to comfort you during the process!

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Barbara Roberts

BARBARA M. ROBERTS has a degree in pastoral care and family counseling from Regis University, and she has been in the field of caring for those who hurt for many years. Her teaching and speaking, as well as one-on-one caregiving and pastoral counseling, have given her broad experience and exposure to the needs of others. "Listening, sharing in another's pain, and being privileged to pray with that person is a gift that God has given to me. I am blessed to be able to use the gift for what I hope continues to be to His glory." Barb was called by God at a very young age. Even as a young girl, her heart desired to know God and to serve Him. She is a Colorado native who grew up in the Denver area and has stayed close to home. In 1961, she married her husband, Ken, and her greatest joys involve her family -- husband, three children, and their amazing spouses, and nine grandchildren.

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