After forty nine years on the planet I’ve learned a lot.
Spoiler alert: I was wrong.
I’d mastered the listed lessons, but there was one I’d not yet completed.
How to grieve the living.
How to mourn the loss of a human not returning to *my* life, yet who’s still happily existing.
I didn’t know how to honor the way the relationship changed me (& how without her I felt empty) even though I knew it had come to its logical conclusion.
And, as with all things I’m befuddled by, I like to think you’re challenged by these same scenarios.
And a blog post was born.
Feel the sads.
For me the hardest part of grieving someone still around was found in the minutia of daily living.
I’d see/hear something only the two of us would find funny and my instinct would be: XXX would love this! I should share it with her!
Well-meaning friends would say Tell *me* all that stuff. I’ll laugh!! —but it wasn’t the same.
My biggest lesson around grieving a human who’s alive but gone from my life was the realization mourning is appropriate.
It’s OK to have reflex feelings of sadness when these moments hit and it’s more than OK to pause and embrace these bittersweet feelings.
In my situation, it felt less miserable to imagine how my ‘missing person’ would have experienced the triggering moment than to attempt to replicate with someone else.
For me the former was sad, the latter seemed sad plus hollow.
but don’t set up residency there.
Remember the person is still here just not in your life at the moment.
Remember the present moment doesn’t override a shared past.
Even though the current relationship has shifted it doesn’t change the connection you’d experienced.
Resist the urge to purge your literal/metaphorical space of remembrances. Instead designate a finite period of time to reflect.
Consciously stop and acknowledge the good this person brought to your life and the impact she had on your world.
AKA do not do the ‘reach out and try to repair‘ which is born from a sense of loneliness.
Maybe it’s not too late? Maybe we can fix this? Maybe I overestimated the rift?
Don’t burn bridges (we never know what’s coming down the path).
It’s important to remember, whatever the relationship, it wouldn’t have ended if it were meant to exist in its current state.
A sense of freedom/ability to fully exhale, however, only arrives when we take responsibility for creating false expectations.
These flawed expectations take myriad forms (I need you to behave a certain way to live in my home. I want you to be something you simply cannot.) yet when we’re honest with ourselves we can see they’re there.
I was able to exhale.
Did these steps aid me in handling my post-relationship ending grief?
Did these steps immediately heal/allow me to move forward sans sense of loss?
For me grief is an attempt to make sense of a situation and pushing myself to ‘just know’ something else lies ahead.
For me grief is the Yung Pueblo notion we cannot erase memories (nor should we desire to) but we can release the heavy energies attached to them.
- Have you grieved the loss of someone still alive? How did YOU handle it?