The one-year anniversary of an incident is often held in remembrance. This was previously considered the end of the mourning period. Today we know that the time needed for processing traumatic events varies greatly. For some, the processing can be shorter than a year; for others it can be longer.
I am still not sure whether I have sufficiently processed my own grief.
Kjersti Marken, lost her 13 year-old daughter Sara in a motor vehicle accident
Normal grief is a natural reaction when someone dies. This is often followed by relief, as the loss and longing are processed through grieving. A traumatic death may be harder to process for those left behind. Examples of incidents where those left behind are at particular risk for prolonged trauma reactions and complicated grief could be the loss of a child, a suicide or terror attacks. Complicated grief involves painful emotions that are intense and long lasting. The grief can become so strong that those affected are unable to function socially and at work.
When one year has passed since the incident, support personnel can sum up the year together with the affected person. This may help the person to understand the healing process and the development that has occurred. Discuss challenging psychological and physical reactions as well as positive experiences and achievements.
For some, a review of the first year can be important to draw a line. For others, it may serve as a reminder that certain emotions and memories still require processing.
Those who no longer have challenging reactions and have satisfactorily processed the incident can be discharged from follow-up. Further referral should be facilitated for those who still experience reactions that are affecting their everyday life.