It can be difficult, moving on.
It can feel like you’ll never be able to do it. Letting go of someone you love is a difficult feat. And even when you think you’ve done it something comes up that reminds you of them, even years later. None of the quotes about moving on help =- you know the ones… “It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all” or “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back it was and always will be yours to keep. If it doesn’t return, it was never yours” and even “they are going to a better place”- they don’t help. Sure, they sound god and well-meaning people say them to you as if they are imparting the cure all to what ails you, but they never work. Why is that? Why don’t those statements about love lost and death and dying help you move on? Because no one can tell you when its time to move on. No one can tell you how to feel.
There are some things that are true about what people say when they learn that you are mourning a loss or a breakup. The underlying message is fact because whether because of death or breakup, you are letting go of someone of someone you love and mourning what you once had. The underlying fact of that mourning and the process you have to go through to get past it is that the longer you live in the past where they lived with you and loved you, the longer you erase your present. Consider these examples:
A couple seemed in love. They were headed toward marriage and seemed in tune to each other in a way that neither had ever felt before. But then the woman found out that the man had been lying to her. He had another relationship in a different town =- one that included a child. He never told her and never stopped that relationship to be committed to her. She was the woman on the side.
A man lived his life with his wife by his side. For 32 years they lived in wedded bliss, weathering the ups and downs, and conquering life together. One afternoon changed their lives forever. She became ill. After doctor’s visits and a round of medication, she succumbed to an illness that took her before either of them was ready to let go.
In both of those examples the person left behind has to deal with a seemingly insurmountable loss. The betrayal of a love and the death of a loved one may not seem like they hold the same weight but to the one who is suffering, they are quite similar. The recognition of betrayal and the vulnerability one feels after the event has occurred is, indeed, the death of a reality. A loved one dying – the permanence that death brings – can feel like a weight on your chest. The people in those instances must find solace in the present –they must find a way to reconcile the loss and remain a part of the life around them or they cease to exist in the way that they used to. Mourning changes you. Both people have to figure out how to move on. No amount of people coaching you on how to let go of a relationship or how to let go of someone will make sense unless you are ready to receive it.
When you loved one dies
This loss, whether sudden or expected, is profound. Understand that. Allow yourself to feel that. Losing someone is one of the most impactful things that will ever happen to a person. Memories will flood in; your last conversation will replay in your head – especially if it was a bad one. All the things you wish you hadn’t done will come flooding back and will overwhelm you. For a time, it may seem like there is no way out of the melancholy that will set over you. But there is. At some point you will begin to remember the good times. The times that person made you laugh, the times you shared love. Your memories will lighten – it might be because of a song on the radio or a line in a movie.
Whatever the reason, your mind will bring up the fun memories of times spent with your loved one. Allow yourself to feel that too. Letting yourself go through the range of emotions that happen when someone dies is important to the process of moving on. While you will never truly get over the death and there isn’t anything that will make the person disappear from your mind and heart, the pain that is so fresh when they pass away will minimize over time. Though it may seem cliché and it may sound like just another moving on quote time really does heals all wounds. The debilitating loss will become an ache. The ache transitions to a yearning and from there a wistful acceptance will begin to show itself. You will start to become a part of the present again and remove yourself more and more from the past. It is good. It is healthy to allow this transition to occur. Let yourself heal.
Losing the affection of a loved one is traumatic. When the love you thought you shared – the future you had been planning – suddenly is no more it can be unsettling. You feel off-kilter, unsure of yourself; unsure of what is real. This is normal. People sometimes attempt to minimize this loss. They tell you that it isn’t that big of a deal, that your feelings are not properly prioritized, but that is not the case. This is a loss in the same way that death is. Your relationship is over and the damage needs to be repaired. Allow yourself to mourn that loss. Let yourself feel the way your do, whether that is sad, betrayed, angry, or any combination of these emotions. In the same that way that a bereaved person will slowly begin to see life in a different way, so too will you. Let yourself live in the world. Look up when you are commuting to work if you use the train or bus. Interact with the people you come across. Make yourself accessible. Soon you will see the positives of life again and know that you can become a part of that again. Once you do that you will be able to move on.
Moving on is not easy. Anyone who implies that it should be has either never lost a loved one to death or through a break up. Forcing yourself to get through it quickly by adding more work or dating someone quickly (effectively replacing the lost love) never works. You will only be masking the problem rather than finding a solution for it. Try allowing yourself to go though the process instead. Let yourself feel all of the emotions that come and deal with them individually. Reconcile your thoughts and feelings, keeping the good things at the forefront as you process it. Then you will truly overcome the grief you are experiencing. Then you will truly move on.