Losing someone is not easy. You go through a whole range of emotions; you ask your self questions you often cannot get the answers to. But what is most important is that it is not the end. We all experience it in different ways. For others, it seems like the pain is just another part of life. They are able to logically separate themselves from the pain caused. Others however, are eternally altered by the experience. They become less trusting, spiral into behaviors that are usually beyond their personality. Basically, how we handle the process of letting go and the step towards moving on is different for everyone. From my experience, and from seeing people in my life – no one person is actually the same.
In 2018, I ended my relationship with the man I thought I was going to marry. Although I made the decision to end it, I willingly took the step towards letting go, I was immediately faced by an unforeseeable experience. Letting go was easy but moving on was hard. It still is. So much of my life had become intertwined with my ex-lover that at some point I could not imagine living without him. We had moved in together; I had lay beside him many nights as we planned our future. Now, I had to be in the same bed and imagine another life without him there.
I went through a range of emotions – a roller coaster that I tried to suppress. I tried hard to shut out the memories I had shared with him and erase them from my life (as though they had never happened). I went as far as keeping contact with him and giving him hope that there was a chance for us to fix things, though in my heart I knew that was not going to happen. One day however, I realized that I was causing more harm than good. I was not going to ‘move on’ like I intended to. I was getting stuck in that phase between letting go and moving on. Then I remembered this really touching quote from a series (yes series) that relates to this:
“It is one of those things that people say, you can’t move on until you let go of the past. Letting go is the easy part. It’s the moving on that’s painful. So sometimes we fight it, trying to keep things the same things can’t stay the same though. At some point you just have to let go, move on. Because no matter how painful it is, it’s the only way we grow” – Meredith Grey (Grey’s Anatomy)
I don’t really remember what Mer was referring to (yes I am a Grey’s fan) but it is those words that helped me realize what I needed to do – I needed to grow. To do this I had to bridge the gap between letting go and moving on which would result in me actually allowing myself to grow.
So this is how I did it:
Firstly, I admitted to myself that I held very beautiful memories shared with my ex – one’s I would not be able to recreate with another person. Memories I chose to celebrate and not ‘kill’.
Secondly, I acknowledged the role that he played in my life, in the person I had become. Admittedly, I had lost so much of who I was but resenting him would not play well, both for my peace and growth. As much as we lose pieces of ourselves when we give ourselves into a relationship, it is also important to remember that at some point, that is the one thing that made you happy.
It is okay to allow yourself to feel the emotions, don’t shut it out. Allow yourself to feel; whether it is disappointment or sadness or longing or anger. Identify the emotions that you are experiencing and acknowledge them. Confront the root of those emotions and the meaning. However, do not allow your emotions to hold you hostage and keep you from being in the present and living your life. It is okay to cry when you need to. Let the emotions out- let go of them.
Another thing that helped was going through rediscovering myself. It’s a journey that I am still going through, one that everyone with an inkling of self-awareness experience throughout their lives. I have come to understand that to continue to grow, you have to continue to learn new things about yourself (and certainly let go of things that hold you down).
At the end of the day, there is no exact science to how you deal with pain or losing someone but moving on and letting go of the past is fundamental. Pain and sadness does not mean the absence of happiness – it just means finding the light in the darkness. You just have to look for or create the happiness you desire because life is too short.