You can’t go back…
Losing someone you care about is hard.
Whether the person is no longer in your life because of death, disagreements or distance, you feel the loss.
People grieve in different ways. Sometimes you throw yourself into other things so you don’t have to think about it. Other times you focus incessantly on the “what ifs” and “whys” that you’ll never really receive answers to.
The one thing we have to understand is when someone leaves us, no matter how much we want to or yearn for it, we can never go back to the way things used to be. We can’t turn back time to the last argument or the last moments we spent together. You can’t—and shouldn’t—go backwards and get stuck in the never-ending feeling of deja’ vu where you are constantly that person, that kid, that couple, that family. Yes, you’re going to be emotional, because you’re human. Yes, you’re going to wish that things could be different or better.
But the fact remains that when you lose someone, you have to process the thoughts, emotions and mind tricks you will have to go through in order to come out on the other side. Just because you lost them, doesn’t mean that you have to lose YOU.
When my dad passed away a few days ago, I realized that I had been “losing” him over and over again for years. The first time was around the age of 7 when he and my mom split, and I had to adjust to no longer having him in my life. Then I lost him again as his visits and calls became fewer and farther in between. I lost him every time someone told me I looked like him. I lost him every time someone mentioned they had spoken to him or seen him. I lost him when I discovered I had three other brothers I had known nothing about growing up. I lost him when other people shared memories of him that I would never have. I lost him with every passing holiday, life event and milestone that I couldn’t share with him. I lost him every single time I asked myself why he abandoned me, why he didn’t reach out to me and why he didn’t want me.
A large part of the process of healing after you’ve lost someone is to recognize those things that happened in the past are just that: in the past. You can’t rewrite history. You can’t take back the things that were said or wish to hear the things that should have been said. You can’t change a single, solitary thing.
Dealing with loss is about dealing with your sense of powerlessness. It’s about understanding and accepting you are powerless to go back and change anything. What is done is done.
True healing, though, comes from embracing your power to create your future.
Looking back and staying “stuck” robs us of closure. It robs us of peace. It prevents us from healing.
Looking forward allows us to incorporate the life lessons we’ve learned from those things, opportunities and people that we’ve lost and to use them to create a new future where we are wiser, better and happier. It’s OK to remember those we’ve lost; just give yourself permission to move forward.