Grieving A Loss By Choice
“Why be that upset? It isn’t as if he’s died.”
“It sucks, but you deserve to be happy.”
“Get over it and move on.”
Losing someone you care about is quite possibly the hardest thing we experience as humans. It can be made even harder when that loss is felt not by death but by choice. Like any loss we suffer, this loss also requires us to walk through the stages of grief. And, just like any other loss, each person experiences those stages differently—at different times, in different orders. Some stages take more time than others, and sometimes we even regress and revisit a stage when something triggers that emotion.
To tell someone not to experience grief simply on the premise that the loss wasn’t due to a death completely neglects the feelings of the person grieving. Telling someone they deserve happiness will not make the grief easier. Telling someone to simply move on does not recognize how hard the process is. Relationships are hard, and each person deserves the time to mourn.
There were times I thought I had no right to grieve. I knew people who had lost a significant other from tragic accidents or simply age-related death, and here I was grieving the loss of a living person. But the truth is we mourn those past experiences because we know we are stepping into the unknown—a life without the person we dreamed of experiencing life with. There were plenty of moments I lay in bed, tear tracks staining my cheeks, and thought, this would be so much easier if it were because of death. Because then, at least people would understand and accept I needed my time, and maybe then they would be willing to listen when I needed an ear.
They say time heals all wounds, and grief takes time. Time won’t fix everything, but it will grant us moments to reflect and decide how to move forward. Those decisions are almost as tough as the grieving process, and they may even bring us back to grief. We are paralyzed by the but what if I make this choice and it isn’t the right one? We stumble through the I deserve to have the life I enjoy, but what if… We proudly declare I know who I am, and this is my choice. But each one of those requires us to move at our own pace.
The truth is time won’t give you answers. Part of the grieving process is understanding that you may have to press on without them, and that is an awfully painful realization. But the thing that time does give you is perspective and a chance to grow. You will never be the same person after experiencing heartbreak, but that’s okay. That change is what is going to make you stronger in the end. And it may even help you navigate this new life.
Loss and grief are a part of life, and so, unfortunately, is heartbreak. I wish I could tell you she would see her wrongs and apologize. I wish I could tell you he will realize what he’s lost and come crawling back. I wish—oh, do I wish so badly—I could tell you God will fix it all for you just the way you want, and you won’t hurt anymore. But I can’t. Because we cannot control other people, and that isn’t how God works.
So, do what you have to do. Grieve. Grieve hard. Put it in a box, lower it into the ground, cover it, lay a flower on the memory. Wear your mourning clothes. Cry those tears. And then walk away. Because the sun is rising on a brand-new tomorrow.