Is there a length of predetermined time one has to be married to their spouse, whether you are a widow or widower, that some how makes it easier to deal with the loss? I honestly do not believe it does, whether you just got married, or didn’t even get through a ceremony yet, or were married for over 30 years, a loss is a loss. People often ask me how long was I married/together? In my case, the answer is almost 20 years. When I say this it as if there is some entitlement for me to grieve more, or less. The issue here is that a loss is a loss. There is no magical number of when one is allowed to grieve more or less, or for how long they are allowed to grieve. It is a process and a practice, not dissimilar to meditation, and every day we come to it from a different space.
Perhaps this is some of the beauty to be had in grieving, you can come to it each day anew again, and perhaps this is also the bad news. Whatever the case may be, we each grieve from a different space and place, with no rights or wrongs, no magical number of time spent with another person that entitles us to this grief any more or less than another. We are all on our own unique journey. The loss of someone may bring up other significant losses in our life as well, be it the loss of relationships, our selves, the loss of child hood and so on. Grief is a very powerful heart opener, and we must attempt to lean into it with no judgment and let go in the moment of now. It all happens in this one moment, and in the next it will change. Keep in mind that when someone asks you how long you were together, they are not intending to give you a card with an allotted amount of time for grieving that will expire if not used. They are simply asking because grief to many is an awkward topic and they do not know what to say. It is your job to be real and honest, no passing any judgment, but just accepting what is and letting it flow through you and then coming out on a different side, if only for a moment, especially when grief is raw and fresh. There is no date stamp on grief, you cannot hold others in judgment nor yourself, just let it all go and breathe into the experience be it a long-term or short-term relationship, let your soul breathe into the place it longs. It is that place where the ocean meets the wave, just below the surface.
Remember, the entrance door to the Sanctuary is inside you.