Grief quotes are a mixed bag. People like to neatly define grief, its symptoms, its remedies – all nicely packaged with a bow. But none of these lists and definitions will actually prepare you for your unique grieving process.

Grief is messy. It can come from losing a relationship, losing a loved one, even losing a great job opportunity. Any kind of loss that you have no control over can throw you into the abyss of grief, and we suggest embracing it.

Because as Dr. Gail Gross says of grief, sometimes “the only way out, is through.” Support your own journey with the following honest quotes on grief.

Acknowledging pain to move forward:

“Sometimes wedged between you + the life you want is a heap of feelings you don’t want to feel + the only way to get over that hump is to feel them. Whether it be guilt, fear, grief, loneliness, what must you be willing to feel in order to move closer to your vision?” Jessica Dore

Getting through the emotions:

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” Vicki Harrison

It may or may not get better with time:

“Time is irrelevant to grief. I cannot tell you that it will feel better or worse as time goes by; I can just tell you that it feels better and worse as time goes by. The only guarantee is that however you feel right now, you will not always feel this way.” Nora McInerny

Frustration in the grieving process:

“I tend to be pretty hard on myself. For weeks I’ve been subconsciously berating myself for wallowing in self-pity after so much time – even though I know I have every right and reason to do so. I question what I’m so unhappy about when I’ve done so well for myself. Why can’t I just enjoy my new life? . . . I’ll never not wrestle with all the unfairness of what I went through.” u/need_CF_advice

Grief doesn’t completely go away:

“We do not move on from the dead people we love or the difficult situations we’ve lived through. We move forward, but we carry it all with us.” Nora McInerny

Embracing a new reality:

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” Anne Lamott

What helpful support looks like:

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.” Henri Nouwen

Accepting gradual healing:

“None of us are immune to grief, and everyone who has suffered loss understands that grief changes, but you never wake up one morning and you’ve moved on. It stays with you, and, you know, you ebb and flow.” Terri Irwin

Grief’s unpredictability:

“I wasn’t prepared for the fact that grief is so unpredictable. It wasn’t just sadness, and it wasn’t linear. Somehow I’d thought that the first days would be the worst and then it would get steadily better – like getting over the flu. That’s not how it was.” Meghan O’Rourke

An idea for getting through the grieving process:

“The true way to mourn the dead is to take care of the living who belong to them.” Edmund Burke

Denial has its place in grieving:

“Denial helps us to pace our feelings of grief. There is a grace in denial. It is nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Accepting your unique grief process:

“Everyone deals with loss differently. Some people turn into blubbering messes, unable to leave the house without crying at every memory or interaction — an old man crossing the street with a cane can bring on hysterics, reminding you of your grandfather. Others hold it in; acting stoic, going to work, keeping busy. Some head down the path of self-destruction, using drugs, alcohol, and reckless behaviour to numb the pain. And some handle it entirely in regular therapy sessions, and maybe even a little medication. We’re all different.” u/TheRealCharlieMunger

“We cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage” Jacinda Adern

If these quotes on grief tell you anything, it’s that there shouldn’t be any judgement in the grieving process — we all cope differently and at our own pace. Talk with people who understand your personal process, at Supportiv.