How Long Is This Grieving Going to Last?

Creative Commons image “Hourglass” by hingeradam via Flickr.

We feel so bad when we are grieving that it is not a surprise when we wonder, “How long will I have this terrible pain? Will this suffering ever end?”

There are two kinds of time:
Chronos Time: This is the kind of time measured by the calendar.

Chronos time is counted in days, weeks, months, years. It is the kind of time measured by clocks. It is a physical time.

Kairos Time: The time within which personal life moves forward. A result of moments of awakening or realization is measured in kairos time. It refers to a deepening process that results from our paying attention to the present moment where we are drawn inside the moment of our own story. Kairos is an unmeasured kind of time.

Don’t measure your grief in chronos time! It’s been a year, four years, I should be OK by now. To think that a certain amount of time has passed and we should be farther along in our grieving is a set up for wondering what is wrong with us.

What matters is kairos time. What insights have I had? What have I learned? What meaning am I making of my terrible loss?

The amount of time each of us takes to reach integration of our loss is usually longer rather than shorter. Our society suggests that grieving should be short. Many government workers get three days off when they lose a family member…

The good news is that healthy grieving does change you and your life. Know that you will feel alive again, probably wiser, quieter, and full of gratitude and a desire to contribute as a result of what you have been through.

All in good time…All in good kairos time!

Originally published at on October 16, 2015.

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