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Facing Life without Your Loved One

When a loved one dies we are left with a gaping hole in our lives.  There is such a sense of absence of their physical presence.  The way they hugged us is gone.  The way they smiled is gone.  The way they filled a room just by being in it is gone.  We don’t know how to fill this hole and indeed some of us don’t even want to. 

In paying attention to the absence of our loved ones in our lives we can miss an opportunity to discover the non-physical presence of our loved ones that is still with us.  I’m not referring specifically to the idea that the spirit lives on though if you believe this it can bring you great comfort. 

What I’m referring to is the fact that our loved ones live on in our memories.  They live on in the love we have for them in our hearts.  They live on in other family members who share a part of them.  By recognising this and acknowledging it we are able to find ways to face life with our loved one still very much a part of it.

When a loved one dies our relationship to them doesn’t.  It still exists albeit in a new and different way.  This can be one of the hardest things to understand.  We believe that because they are dead we need to put them in the past and move forward without them.  It’s this belief that creates an even bigger gaping hole in our lives.

Your loved one is still your loved one.  Death does not change that.  They mean the same to you now as they did before they died.  By accepting this fundamental truth you empower yourself to find new ways to keep them in your life.  Just as your relationship with them required effort when they were alive, your relationship with them after death also requires effort.

Keeping your loved one in your life after death can be as simple as talking to them as if they were still there.  You can write to them.  You can find the happiest picture you have of the two of you together and place it next to your bedside.  You can take up a hobby that they had.  You can continue to do a special activity you shared.  You can continue to talk about them with others.

There are a thousand ways to keep your loved one in your life.  All it requires is for you to look beyond the absence of their physical presence, deep into the recesses of your heart and discover how you want to keep them in your life. 

Questions for Self-reflection:

  • What are your biggest fears when it comes to life “without” your loved one?
  • How can you let go of those fears?
  • In what ways is your loved one still present in your life?
  • How can you continue to keep your loved one present in your life?

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About the Author

Author, Thriving Loss: Move beyond grief to a place of peace, passion and purpose.

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