I think we all feel helpless when grief and sorrow strike us or the ones we love. I’ve also come to accept that there is no time limit or one-step method to deal with this process. We all process grief or loss in our own unique ways and I don’t necessarily believe there will ever be a one size fits all method to deal with it.
Oftentimes, we don’t know what to do with loss– how to work through it. And so we let it sit with us and cloud our vision and burden our hearts. But deep down what we all need is grace and love. That is the first lesson i’ve learned over the course of the past year: that we need something greater than just ourselves to believe in. We need it and cling to it because it brings us hope. And hope does not put us to shame.
The ending that produced a new beginning. Last July, a very significant relationship in my life ended ended. It was the hardest thing i’ve ever had to go through despite the events that unfolded along with it after the break up. To be honest, I don’t think the love ever ran out- on some level it just wasn’t enough to sustain our relationship anymore and to keep fighting. I don’t think you just stop loving someone just because the relationship ends, I think it just evolves as you grow and move forward but it will always be there especially when that person (or animal) was such a significant component in your life.
When someone is such a significant part of your life for so long, it is hard to imagine how you will survive without them. But that’s the thing- life existed before them and life will go on after them. You were not anymore you when you were with them, and you will not be any less you now that you have parted. If anything you are more without them for having to build the strength to move forward and learn from your experiences. Letting go of someone will not be instantaneous- but parting ways is always the first step to the process.
Some days my heart still hurts. It sinks into my chest cavity and there are still times that I find myself trying to dig deep to stay grounded- to hold on. But I think the most important part in self-healing and growth, especially with those first few weeks and months is to let yourself feel it or live it because without doing it and going through the motions you will never be able to heal.
In my eyes, forever was a year and nine months. It was a forever full of joy and overflowing with love and plans for the future because together we shared in the most sorrowful times, and in the most celebratory moments that life has to offer. We went through it together, got through it together, and thrived together but sadly when it all came crashing down and I was faced with enduring one of the hardest things you will ever go through I wasn’t be able to go through it together with them and that was incredibly hard.
I don’t think I ever hurt so much over someone as much as I did with this person. The ending wasn’t clean– it was actually the messiest I’ve ever experienced and sometimes it still makes me upset to think about how things were handled. The one person you needed at a time when you were so vulnerable and dealing with something so difficult on your own. There were mistakes made on both parts; mistakes that were made out of fear, out of pain, and out of loneliness. But past the dark days, past the gloomy winter, and into the wet spring, the light came through. And while the future is uncertain, the present is good. And the universe has been generous and so loving.
Through this ending, i’ve discovered and learned about a second lesson. I learned how to mourn-I learned how to wake up, get dressed, and go about my day, even when I felt like I was being crushed by all the pain that sat on my heart. I learned how to hold my head up amidst people talking and walking out of my life. I learned how to endure endure endure. I had to. I learned that I was not alone, and that there were many wonderful beautiful people around me who loved me deeply and have continuously supported me through my darkest times. But most significantly and importantly, I learned how to go to the universe with my anger, my bitterness, and my burdens. I learned what true grace was. And I learned just a little more about love (ironically). I learned the act of showing myself compassion, care, and self-love.
For my friends going through break ups, fading friendships, or even medical issues– it is easy to feel like nobody understands what you are going through. But I promise you- we do on some level. We all remember what it is like and at some point in our lives we have all lost someone significant whether it be through death, people walking out of your life (or vice versa), or through break-ups. It is okay to want them back and it is okay to miss them. There’s no time limit but there are ways that are healthy to miss someone and it’s important to never let those thoughts impede your ability to get through your day. It is okay to hurt over things. But don’t let it control your life any longer than it must, you need to do you and not give the power to someone else to control your life.
There’s this great quote by Ijeoma Umebinyuo that I heard a few years ago and I still hold it in my heart:
1. You must let the pain visit.
2. You must allow it teach you
3. You must not allow it overstay.
And as with the past ten years of my life, but more recently the past 4 years, I have dealt with the swings of depression that have impacted my ability to live my life to it’s full potential. This winter was the toughest one yet. There were many days that melted into weeks where I would lie in bed for hours at a time– by hours, I mean literally 8+ hours. After classes or work, it was straight to bed I went. I always joked that it was napping because “it had been a long day”. But in actuality, it was depression. It stole time from me- time that I could have spent with friends or focusing on school. It is hard to admit, because I know that this is not me. This is not who I am. But sometimes, we don’t have control over that– over our brain chemistry and hormonal changes and seasonal transitions. But we do have control over when we seek help. Seeking help doesn’t make it easier, per se, but it gets us going in the right directions.
And that is the third lesson I learned: that you cannot run away. I thought that closing off from my problems was easier than opening up (something that many other people share the same views on). But it’s like closing your eyes in the face of something unpleasant– just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. For as soon as you open your eyes, there it is again.
The fact of the matter is that life ebbs and flows. Some days are really great, and we’re on top of everything. And some days we’re on our bedroom floor, unable to get ourselves up to take a shower or brush our teeth, with a million assignments that are due or a full day of work ahead of you. Some storms are longer and scarier than others, and leave behind seemingly irreparable messes. But always always always the clouds fall away to reveal the sun. And if there is one thing you can take away, remember this: no matter how many times we break, we can rise and put ourselves back together.
It’s crazy to think how fast time flies when in the moment it feels like it’s at a standstill. I think the most important reminder that i’ve had to tell myself is to just take things one day at a time. Focus on you in that moment and don’t lose sight of your own value to this world no matter how dark the world seems to be. Life has so many beautiful moments (often so small) to see and be grateful for, that we can’t let depression allow us to miss these things.