g a t h e r i n g s

You Asked For It! Relationship After Loss

How can you get over the loss of a beloved? It strikes me that often there is a painful dichotomy in how we shape our questions and look for answers. To “get over” this kind of loss is a faulty proposition, one that often adds confusion, guilt, frustration and shame to the journey.

When someone close dies, it changes our world forever, just as our world changed upon his or her entry. In the case of a parent it is his or her arrival that allows us to have life at all … when it is a partner, we are able to create more life according to our unique connection … when it is a friend, we discover new layers of association with another … when it is an animal, perhaps we experience unconditional love in both directions. Any of these relationships expands our field of experience so that where once there was a certain limitation, now there is elasticity. We cannot bring another in – and join with another – without widening our being. Thus, when this particular thread of relatedness is severed, every aspect of our being must find a way to adjust.

A beautiful and realistic way to think about this is that we cannot return to the original limitation. That connection will never not have been. Thus being able to fully inhabit our expanded space without that special company by our side is the burgeoning task.

To miss, yes, and yet not be subsumed by a void. To remember, yes, and yet not be swept into memory so that the present becomes less real than the past. To wish, yes, and yet not to lose ourselves in what might have been different. To be angry, sometimes, and yet not allow it to overtake our heart. To feel guilt, sometimes, and yet to know that in this moment those details pale in the vastness of shifting sands. To love, yes, and yet to allow love’s particularity to move into the realm of the great love that holds all, life and death, both parties in equal care and possibility. To mourn, yes, and yet consent to mourning’s eventual shift toward honoring, in one’s own time, long or short, through the continuation of shared discovery.