An open letter to anyone who is grieving

When you’re suddenly left behind, you can feel lonelier than ever.

An open letter to anyone who is grieving

Losing a loved one is one of the most traumatic experiences you can live through. That deep, achy sadness you can’t paint a smile on. The feelings of gut-wrenching heartache, despair, anger, guilt and loss circling your brain and body, each one firing off at an unexpected moment, while you somehow have to organise the practical, mind-bogglingly mental event management of a funeral, and get up each morning and continue a normal human existence.

All you really want to do is weep and wail for that one person you loved so much, who you will never, ever see again. Or be able to speak to. Or hold their hand. Or hug tight and tell them you love them, one last and final time.

How you cope during this turmoil can change everything in your life. Bereavement can make you feel all on your own, like nothing else really can.

So, when the person you’ve lost was your soulmate – that special someone in your two-person team for what seems like forever – words can’t describe how that must feel.

It’s got to be so tempting, on the first day you manage to get to bedtime without sobbing, to want to forget the past. To start anew in a fresh, newborn world, where all that hurt and pain doesn’t belong and can be left behind. You can get rid of all the reminders, move somewhere else, make new friends, even use a different name if you want. And then life can go on being easy. Or at least easier.

I so understand that need to be free of the pain. To be able to run and just keep running. Where new experiences can awaken your senses and make you feel something again. You long for a sensation that will slap you round the face and embrace the feeling of being alive.

Back in reality sits the rest of the mourning family. Heart after heart filled with sadness. And friends who don’t really know what to do or say, apart from asking how you are. And that can get difficult when nobody knows how to react if you tell the truth.

But please, hang in there.

Don’t move away. Stay close to those who love you. They will love you forever and you can surf the waves together. You will get to a point when you can genuinely celebrate an occasion without bursting into tears because a certain someone should be there. You’ll look back on fond memories and be able to laugh, not cry. By pushing your nearest and dearest away, life can seem a little easier. But ask yourself what the person who left you would want.

You can do all the other stuff if you need to. A new home is often a necessity, and a new partner, come to that. Just because you want to be with someone new does not mean you won’t remember the love you lost – and all your living loved ones know that. It might be hard at first, but fundamentally, they will just want you to be happy. And if that means finding a companion to share a new life with, they might just be OK with that.

If you’re honest and open, and you talk to and love your family, you get to have it all ways. You get to start anew, and try to make some memories to help heal some old ones. But you get to stay close to everyone and everything that bonded you to your old love, too. The love that meant so much to you, it would be wrong to box it away and try to forget it.

So, this is a small piece of advice to anyone who’s lost – and anyone who does lose their loved one. Don’t forget them. Keep them alive by being with all the people who connect you. Spend time with your children and grandchildren, if you’re lucky enough to have them. Be interested. Learn new things about them. Stay in touch, in every sense.

And in time, you’ll discover that not only has the loneliness faded away, but you have a new chapter to embrace with both old and new friends – and you might just find they can all make you happy again.

– With PA

Have you had to navigate the pain and challenges in the loss of a loved one? Were you well supported?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    15th Sep 2020
    Wow! that was strong! Recently lost my Mum - she was my best friend and as her guardian had to make life terminating decisions; then empty the family home of 36 years of possessions since Dad died o/seas in 1986 and she came here, then the funeral, then Executor/Solicitor paperwork, then returning to my home, then more family issues - I arranged Grief Counseling as soon as I got back and it has helped me through so many aspects of losing my best friend and feeling so lost, alone etc. Knowing that what you did was OK, what Mum wanted at the end etc. that is OK to feel like hell, to sob yourself to sleep, some days are OK, most are not - it all takes time - you NEVER get over it, just manage it better as time goes on - not crazy if you talk to them as if they are still here etc Hang in there - remember the good times - always
    Chris G
    15th Sep 2020
    Missskinnylegs, so sorry for your recent loss. My Mum died 25 years ago, and I still miss her deeply. The 1sts are the worst: the first Christmas, the first Mothers Day, the first birthdays (yours & hers), the first anniversary. It does get easier over time.
    15th Sep 2020
    Thanks Chris G - yes I agree the firsts are the wort. Her first birthday in August was tough but I took the day off work, had a lovely (if expensive) lunch where we had our first Xmas lunch together - ordered and ate what she would have chosen - worth every cent - brilliant day weather wise, felt no sadness and as it was beach side knew exactly where to scatter her ashes when the time comes. It is getting easier to talk about her by the day - warts and all! You take care too
    My choice Adelaide
    16th Sep 2020
    I also agree with the article. Keep the good memories and look forward to new memories.
    I feel that we can not change the weather we experienced yesterday. So no matter how many times you think about .. if only .. or .. I or we should have .. we can not alter the past. Embrace it all and how lucky are we to have the power to enjoy our future. Do let everyone know how much you love and appreciate them in your life.
    16th Sep 2020
    I lost my wife coming up to 3 years in November. After 49 years together through good and bad it is extremely difficult to go on. Due to my mother-in-laws Alzheimer's my wife lost a lot of herself trying to cope and communicate with her. This brought on frustration after frustration and ended up causing friction between us. She ended up taking her life and to this day I still feel the loss day after day. I've taken my GP's advise and now see a Physiologist which helps a little and gives me the odd good day but it always comes back to if only...and the tears come on again. I think my tears to date could well fill a small basin.

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