As I’m sure you’ve already figured out by now, there’s an entire world out there that will tell you what to do with your pain.
Some of it will be well-intentioned, a friend or family member wanting nothing more than to dry the sadness from your eyes. People who love you, who hurt when you hurt, so they try to convince your heart to miraculously heal. As if it’s just that easy.
And some of it will be vitriolic, anonymous strangers convinced they know who you are. People who look at loss like it is one-dimensional, who fail to see how complex it is to miss someone.
There is nothing simple about grief. There is no one way you can paint it.
And quite frankly, I’m really tired of what society decides to label weakness. I’m tired of natural emotions getting mislabeled as something else. I’m tired of seeing people feel like they can’t miss someone past a certain length of time, like they need to snap out of it already.
There is no set of rules when it comes to missing someone. It’s not a calculation, it’s not half the time you were with someone. It isn’t about how long it took the person you lost to move on.
At the end of the day, all of that is meaningless. You cannot force yourself to be in a place just because it’s where people have told you you should be. That’s not how it works. You might fool yourself for a bit, but you can’t outrun stuff.
Eventually, it all catches back up.
When you have a person – your person – who makes a undeniable difference in your life, and you lose them, it’s devastating. There’s a shattering to it. Even if it was gradual and everyone saw it coming, you’re still never really ready for the ending. Your senses feel dulled. The way you look at things becomes altered – rose-colored glasses broken into all these tiny pieces. All of it stings.
That is not weakness. Experiencing pain because someone you love(d) is no longer a person you can call at 2 AM when you can’t sleep is not weakness. Crying when you come across old photographs and the memories hit you like a slap in the face is not weakness. Missing someone who you cared for is not weakness.
There is a strength in honoring how we feel.
I don’t think it’s given nearly enough credit just how hard it is to admit those things. Everyone is so focused on being fiercely independent, on “Boy, Bye”, on donning a brave face and trudging onward. Yes, all of those things have purpose and importance, but they don’t represent more strength. They’re just different. And honestly, they’re usually defense mechanisms. We’re all trying to cope. We’re all trying to survive however we can.
If you miss someone, it means they meant something to you. It means you connected with another human being. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Connection? Allowing ourselves to be open and feel deeply?
I can’t tell you how long this feeling will last. It may come in waves. It may hit you years later when you don’t expect it. That’s not a bad thing. It’s a reminder that you cared so much for someone. It’s a reminder that you’re capable of it again.