Grief is a journey with no set time frame. During the deepest stages of grief, mourners may feel complete loss -- loss of meaning, loss of joy, loss of hope. They may also feel fiercely loyal to their lost relationship, and resist anything that may take them away from that lost relationship. They may focus on honoring, remembering, or re-living the past, rather than thinking about the present (eating, resting, connecting with others), or thinking about the future.

Signs that grief 's journey is less turbulent include the slow return of pleasure or joy , looking forward to things in the future, a returned or new sense of purpose,  reaching out to others and re-engaging in life, and a lack of fear toward the stages of grief. This is a process that does not happen all at once. It occurs in small pieces in a back and forth manner.

A final sign of a well-traveled healing journey occurs when a grieving person is able to think about their loss as a happy memory and not experience acute pain as they once did.