Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Timeline of Loss

I got together with a friend recently to talk about our shared grief as a result of pregnancy loss. This grief has been a part of my life since March 2008. For my friend, however, it is much more recently and she is still reeling from the pain. As we talked one thing kept coming up again and again: the thought that at some point we should be done with the grief and able to move on.

If you are also dealing with a similar loss you might be interested in what I told me friend. If you know someone who is dealing with a recent loss, you should also pay attention. Here's the thing ...

There is no timeline.

I have talked with men and women who still grieve their lost children years and years later. You will never forget the children who were with you for such a short period of time. The grief never completely goes away.  You will be reminded of your child every time you see a pregnant women who is roughly where you would be if you were still pregnant or anytime you see a child who is roughly the age your child would be had he or she lived.

But I'm here to reassure you that although those things stay with you, they do get easier. Eventually, it does get easier.

And most important, there is no timeline. Let yourself be reassured that the pain, grief, and sadness you are feeling is normal. Yes, completely normal. And you do not have to be "done" grieving by any arbitrary date or event in the future.

My friend found comfort in hearing me tell her that there is no timeline. That she can grieve for as long as it takes. That no one should expect her to be "over it" by any particular point (and if they do, they are not being supportive friends). That the grief can even come back hard at random times when she least expects it. And all of this is okay.

I think it was important for her to hear me say that I still grieve for my babies. My last loss was more than two years ago now and I have had a successful pregnancy since. And yet, I still miss my babies. The grief is still there, though different now.

Time really does heal. It does not make us forget. I for one do not want to forget. But time does heal. And everyone's timeline is different.

I hope this simple thought can be helpful and reassuring to others as well.

Image source: morgueFile


  1. She's lucky to have a friend like you

    1. Thank you! We are lucky to have each other. :)

  2. I'm sorry for you and your friend's loss.

    I think this is a good reminder for anyone who as lost a loved one, be it a spouse, parent, grandparent or friend. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Thank you, Carol. And yes, I think you are right. This is a good reminder for any kind of loss. Grief of any kind takes many forms and we all deal with it differently. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  3. Just passed Emily and Timmy's 5th anniversary and I can affirm that there's no "logical" timeline - one year is inexplicably harder than another, even as the edges soften and blur a little. You just never know what will bring the memories rushing back! And, as you say, you don't want to forget, either. It's a good reminder for all of us. Thanks for this post!

    1. Thanks, Lynn. So hard to believe it's been 5 years already since Emily and Timothy left us. :(