There are many kinds of loss. The death of a friend or loved one may be one of the most common, but some other losses include:
- Job loss
- Death of a dream
- Loss of a beloved pet
- Loss of a relationship
- Change in life circumstances
- Less ability to do what you used to be able to do
Loss is a personal, painful thing. You may feel like you will never recover from it, like things will never be the same. You may feel sad, depressed, angry, scared, confused, or even relieved. All those feelings are okay. Actually, whatever you are feeling is okay. You grieve in your own, unique way. No one can tell you it's the wrong way because it's your way. It's what you need to do to process your loss.
But you can find healing. No, things won't be the same, but you can find your new way to live. You can go on with your life, remembering and honoring the loss, but not letting it continue to devastate you. Life really is for the living, and at some point, you will be ready to rejoin it. Don't rush to get there. Don't let anyone push you into it before you're ready. Take your time and feel your feelings. Let yourself feel numb, or angry, or sad, or relieved. Realize that others may not understand your process. That's okay. They don't have to "get it." They will probably go back to their regular routine while you are still reeling, and let that be okay, too. It's different for you than it is for them. You need more time. That's normal.
One day, you'll laugh again, when you thought you never would. It might surprise you; you might even feel guilty about it! Laughing is a good sign, though. Enjoying something you used to like means you are dealing with your loss. It means you are starting to live again. You're starting to accept your new normal, whether that means life without a special person or pet, a new job or lack of a job, the limits on your health you now have to deal with, or any of a number of things. Loss is hard. Grief is hard. But it doesn't have to be the end of your world. You can get through this. And it is about getting through it, not around it or avoiding it in some way. You must wade into it, let it surround you, plod on, and come out the other side. And you will come out the other side. In your own time. When you are ready.
Until that happens, let it be okay to take the time you need to process what you need to process. When you're ready to go on, do what you need to do: rejoin slowly; jump all in; reevaluate your commitments; start something new; pick up something old; make a new friend; eliminate someone toxic from your life. Do what's healthy for you, and don't feel guilty about it.
Remember, life is for the living. Remember the loss. Honor it. But keep living life. That's why you're still here.