When someone says that they lost someone, a lot of us automatically assume that they are grieving the death of a loved one. Unfortunately, death is not the only form a loss. I feel that a lot of us go through life, grieving the loss of a person who is still alive.
When you hear the name of that person, or see that person, just randomly driving down the road, a lot of us feel a nostalgic ping, a pinch of sadness that tightens our chest. Whenever we see that person, we are hit with a wave of emotions, ranging from sadness to frustration, maybe feelings of betrayal, and of course the physical and mental loss of the rope that bound you to them. A lot of us grieve the loss of someone who has chosen to abandon us voluntarily, or leave us behind as they continue on to the next phase of their lives.
A lot of us would argue that being deliberately abandoned is one of the most painful things that could happen to a person. While it is a reasonable argument, I personally feel that losing someone to an uncontrollable situation is much more painful. While we are still talking about grieving of the loss of people who are still alive, imagine them changing in front of your very eyes, as they lash out because of mental illnesses, wither down and cripple because of substance abuse, or turn into a shell of a person because of a trauma that they have endured.
You can slowly see the person that you love, change into something unrecognizable. They lash out at you, hurt your feelings, but they cannot help it anyway. As painful as it is for you to see that person become unrecognizable, imagine the loss that they themselves feel. A dramatist would say that they had lost their soul, a realist would say that this person, had lost themselves, and did not know who they were anymore. Imagine a world where you had to say, I have lost myself and I don't know who I am anymore.
When we grieve the loss of the living, we are hit with an overwhelming series of memories shared together. We are taken back to a time, where we each played significant roles in each other's lives. I think that it is important that we remember that whenever we grieve the loss of a person who is still alive, we are actually grieving the memories that have been shared together. Not everyone is meant to venture with you to the next chapter of your life, some are meant to stay behind or go on a journey of their own.
When you mourn the loss of a person who is still alive, remember to focus on the good memories. Remember the shy glances, random giggles, warm hugs and the weird conversations. As many have said, do not be sad that it is over, smile because it happened. When it is time to say goodbye, conduct yourself in a manner in which you would bid goodbye to a person who has died. Remember that the person that was important to you has now gone, and no longer exists. Accept that loss is part of life, but always remember that moving on from this loss is also important.