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When professionals (especially therapists) talk about grief they frequently refer to “stages of grief.” I never really liked that idea because grief is actually messy. It doesn’t organize itself into nifty stages.

“Messy grieving” refers to the complex and often non-linear process of dealing with grief and loss. Grief is a highly individual experience, and it can manifest in various ways, including emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that may not follow a neat or predictable pattern. It’s  “messy” because it can involve a mix of emotions like sadness, anger, guilt, and even moments of joy or relief. People may also experience physical symptoms, changes in sleep and appetite, and have difficulty concentrating.

The messiness of grieving is entirely normal, and there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. Each person’s journey through grief is unique, and it can take time to come to terms with loss. It’s important to be patient with oneself and seek support from friends, family, or a therapist during this challenging process. Remember that messy grieving is part of the healing journey and a natural response to loss.


Sad Woman Standing Stock photos by Vecteezy