This could solicit a variety of responses and my guess will be that the answer depends on whether you have endured a profound loss in your life or not.
People visit the graves of their loved one because it brings them comfort. It helps them to feel connected to them. And it’s a visual reminder of the reality that they are gone forever.
Initially after my husband died, I went to the cemetery a couple of times a week. Then it got to be less and less. Then I went on holidays and special occasions. I would place some flowers, sit on the grass and just reflect. Let’s face it… a cemetery is a very quiet, serene setting that welcomes reflection and soul searching by the bereaved. There is no distraction of phones, household or work-related chores, computers or mindless noise… just quiet, lots of green grass and flowers. It is soothing.
I moved to another city about 10 years after my husband died so I don’t go very often anymore; however, by the time I moved away I didn’t feel the need to be there either. I hold his memory in my heart and I feel, see and breathe him in everyday that I spend with my daughters and grandchildren.
Visiting the grave is not unique to humans. Elephants do this too. They spend time with the body of their loved one before burying him or her with twigs and branches. And, they return to “visit” them too. Herds of elephants passing by a grave will stop to pay respects to the buried elephant, even if they were not acquainted with them. It’s beautiful.
Like so much of the grief journey, the specific length of time to visit the grave is not etched in stone. The grief journey is different for everyone. Some may go all the time, others may never return. It’s an individual choice. Of course, if a person returns to the cemetery day after day after day and does not seem to re-engage with their day-to-day life, they may benefit from seeing a counsellor to help them work through the pain.
If your loved one has recently died and you wonder when you should stop visiting the grave… trust in yourself that you will know when the time is right for you.