Grief Knows No Time Limits

Often occurring when least expected.


 Feeling the Pain
There are many times loss and death hit us at awkward times- middle of the night, walking to the bathroom, enjoying a cup of coffee, or whenever. For some, it can be like we are stuck in time, lost, or feeling wayward.  But expecting people to just “get over it” or “shouldn’t you be done by now,” is dismissive and full of rejection, let alone it can lead to more pain.  It has been just over 4 years since my nephew/Godson, Andrew McMorris, was killed by a drunk driver.  I can tell you that the pain and loss is still real today. The emptiness, the hole, the gap in our family is still there.  I know no one likes to feel pain or sadness but it’s part of the human experience. A lot of times this world wants us to push past and not look at it. I firmly believe this is a reason we are more disconnected with each other.   Grief has no time limit!  I say it again: Grief has no time limit!  We need to accept this fact. Some of us have become so caught up with what is happening around us that we miss the fact that time does stand still for parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends that have lost a loved one.  Any major milestone that happens is now a hole. Some of us are still experiencing these milestones such as a first day of school, first love, first kiss, teaching our kids to drive, graduation, mother-son/daughter dates, father-son/daughter time, even when we ground our kids.  We also must acknowledge that for the siblings, that empty room across the hall that was always full of sibling rivalry, love, best friend, and a partner in crime, is suddenly missing.   I really hope that you feel the pain.  That feeling is a connection with another human.  A lot of us may never experience a loss like this, but can you feel it? We should feel it. 

Emphasis on Empathy
In my previous article, Screaming for Unconditional Love and Acceptance, I mentioned empathy having 4 main qualities by Theresa Wiseman: Perspective taking, Stay out of judgment, Recognizing emotion in another person, and Being able to communicate it back. These qualities are important because no one wants to be pacified or just tolerated.  Once you understand this, then you can help and show compassion (I see your pain and relieving it).  

So how do we help with this death, loss and grief?

1. Recognize there is no time limit.

2. It is OK to feel and look to relate to the person instead of just making excuses.

3. Ask if it is ok to talk about the loss or person.

4. Talk about the person and what you miss or think about what they would be doing. 

Best example I can come up with is a personal example:

Feeling the Emptiness
Recently, we were in Disney with my sister, Alisa McMorris, and her family (Andrew’s immediate family) walking to Tomorrowland, laughing, joking, and stuffing our faces with popcorn. My daughter suddenly stopped and began getting watery eyed.  She felt the empty spot where her cousin, Andrew, was supposed to be.  Rather than say “get over it, we are in Disney.  We are supposed to be happy.”  We allowed my daughter and ourselves to feel the sadness.  I admired my sister (Andrew’s mom) for doing what my wife and I usually do.  Alisa went over to my daughter and talked to her and acknowledged her pain.  They stood there for a minute, felt the emptiness, loss, and pain together.  Then my sister asked her “what would Andrew be doing right now?”  We all provided a response, smiled, and then we went on.

Did you see what happened?  We allowed each of us to feel the emptiness, which is something we don’t do in this world. We need to allow ourselves to feel the pain, grief, and hurt together.  We need to heal, grow, and walk out together.  

I will leave you with a verse from a song of my favorite band, Remedy Drive, called Daylight. “Has everything you’ve counted on, Left you right here with no warning, Have your dreams become invisible, Wait with me dear till the morning, Light will make the night burnout.  Hold on – daylight is coming, Daylight is coming to break the dawn, Daylight is coming.”




Chris Abatelli provides secure telehealth counseling sessions for young adults, adult, teens and families. Please see Chris’s bio here: For an appointment, call LCC at 1-800-317-1173 or e-mail us at