Nothing is more scary than experiencing a world which, on the surface, remains identical to the last, and yet, at its core, you know that everything about it has been changed forever.
No one else knows what’s happened, though. To the passers by and random others, it’s just the same old town doing its same old thing. And, in all fairness, they’re not wrong. There’s been no alien invasion or devastating war. At least then you’d be able to see something physical to make sense of the pain you feel inside. The absence of bodies or destruction of cities would make it all far easier to understand. But no, this one is just for you, and the reminders of this irrevocable circumstance come at the strangest of times.
When you’re waiting in line, buying food, watching TV, driving home from work, waking up, going to sleep. The list goes on.
But maybe the strangest and most hard-hitting of times is when your previously normal world overlaps with your new upside-down one.
It casually reminds you, whilst you are laughing and joking with your friends – the same ones you had yesterday and the days before that – that you should feel guilty for this. A pang of it strikes you in the midst of your fleeting emotional freedom – How could you smile in times of such sorrow? Did you forget what happened?
No, but why must I feel the pain it brings every second of every day? Does it make me a bad person to momentarily ‘forget’?
Of course it doesn’t, but loss does that to you.
“Grief is love with nowhere to go” and we all have to deal with it in our own way. There’s no guideline on how to or how long you are supposed to do this. The only universal truth is that you must simply let it run its course. You must go through this unique cycle until it begins to fashion itself into a new look, and it will. Life always manages to seamlessly blend eventually.
Time is the healer, as they say. But what is important is not the length of time, rather, its what is done with the time itself.
Nothing changes if nothing changes. Life events can only transpire if we push ourselves to do something – anything. Big or small, it doesn’t matter, as long as we utilise our time wisely.
That is not to say “forget”. That is simply not possible. No, it’s more about ways that help you cope with life after loss. It’s how we “stay strong”.
Lean on those you love. Allow yourself to smile, to reflect, to cry. Persevere with the little things you still enjoy, and even continue with the things that don’t necessarily fill you with joy (like work, for example) Keeping a routine and a momentum going will enable motivation and the potential for things to change. But throughout this process, know you will never stop feeling. That’s part of being human. But that feeling does get easier to manage.
So whilst you should let your emotions run their course, you shouldn’t let them run away with you. You, as an individual, can do this by engaging with the other running constants in your life. From seeing your wonderful friends, to doing the tasks that upkeep your home, and anything and everything in-between. Never feel guilty for continuing to live your life after a loved one has passed. They would only ever want you to be happy, and one day, you will be again.
But you’ll always remember them. Future days will come, long when the guilt-ridden pangs have ceased, and you’ll think of them. Perhaps the thought will even make you smile and laugh, or perhaps it’ll bring a tear to your eye. Whatever happens, hold onto that. For those moments are proof that, while time will always go on, true love never dies.
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