In the first three parts of this blog we discussed the process of grief and how we react to the loss of a loved one. In the last part of this write up, I will be talking about complicated or persistent complex grief. Persistent complex grief is not part of the difficulties that every loss brings, it is a kind of bereavement process that falls outside of the cultural and religious norms for that individual.

Complicated grief becomes chronic. The individual feels stuck in the acute stage of grief where feelings of bereavement fill every moment of the day. There is constant yearning for the person, continuous feelings of guilt, thoughts and memories of our loved one dominate life and we have a feeling that we’ll never be happy again. It is a very difficult way to live. It’s a place of continuous desperation.

So please, when I person is grieving, let’s not say ‘they are milking it’, ‘they are enjoying the attention’ especially if the bereaved person is not healing and engaging with life as quickly as we expected them to. Let us listen, be patient, offer our support. Let us be present in a way we’d like others to be there for us when we face our losses.


Anna Catania is a counsellor with Willingness. She has had a special interest in working with clients facing intimacy and sexual difficulties and runs a service for families going through cancer and chronic illness. She can be contacted on

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