When you’re grieving, you feel like it will never end.

Everyone grieves differently and you must have patience with yourself. Since my son, Bobby died, I get asked this question: ‘How long does grief last?’

I wish I had an answer. Grief lasts as long as it lasts. I counted it a win after a few weeks when I got through one day without tears. For others, that victory can take months or even years.

Grief for a pet

Losing a treasured family pet brings a kind of grief that isn’t understood by those who don’t have pets. When I jumped into my nomadic motor home life, I figured my cats would immediately adjust to life on the road.

I was wrong.

They were used to having a pet door to come and go as they pleased. Their favorite pastime was lying on the warm concrete of our front porch. Phoebe would keep an eye on any creature that dared to step foot on our property, while Oliver found immense pleasure in digging up tiny snakes and bringing them into the house to play.

After traveling from Oregon to Tennessee and back, hubby and I decided we needed to find them a new home. An older man, the grandfather of a friend, said he’d take them in. Success! Until reality hit. I started to cry before we even took them to their new home.

After getting Phoebe and Oliver settled in with Duane, I grieved in earnest. A few years ago, I saw Carrie Underwood in person during her “Cry Pretty” tour. Do you remember her song, “You Can’t Cry Pretty?”

Grief and ugly crying

That was me. I pretty much ugly cried for five days. Losing my two critters brought up all the feelings I had after Bobby died. I kept telling myself how silly I was to grieve so hard over two furballs.

Anyone who has had to put a pet down understands the deep feelings of loss. It seems like life loses its purpose. Nothing feels right. The world loses its color. Those who don’t have animals may think I’m being super melodramatic. Perhaps I am, but it’s how I felt.

How long does grief last

Back to my original question: How long does grief last? It lasts as long as it lasts. The loss of a loved one can take months or even years before the stabbing pain lessens. It was five years before I didn’t experience depression as the month of March approached. Bobby’s birthday and death day are both in March.

Don’t rush grief

Don’t try to rush through grief. It is a process that takes as long as it takes. Sometimes grief is cyclical. You’ll be fine for a while, then it will ambush you again. Don’t let others’ impatience force you to ‘get over it.’

Whether you’re grieving the loss of a family pet or a loved and cherished person, let grief run its course. Be patient with yourself. Talk to others who have gone through a similar loss. Pray and ask God for comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says, “He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

For more on grief and loss of a child, check out Because of Grace: A Mother’s Journey from Grief to Hope: Daly, Jane: 9781941058268: Amazon.com: Books

Jane S. Daly is the author of two nonfiction books and seven novels.

Jane is addicted to coffee, purple pens, and her husband, not necessarily in that order. A self-proclaimed introvert, she enjoys the solitude of riding shotgun in Rigsby, her 37-foot motor home. But when they pull into a new campground, her favorite thing is to make new friends and find hangouts featuring local musicians. Her fantasy involves writing lyrics for country music songs and hearing them played on the radio. In the meantime, she’ll stick to writing novels. And seeing as much of the country as possible.