“Perhaps the best tribute you can pay someone who dies is to share his belief in life by putting your life ahead of his death.” – Max Lerner
So, here’s the thing; we all die, but losing a loved one can almost kill us. When we care, we cannot think of life without that person.
No matter what went on before, the memories will linger and the good ones usually outweigh the bad ones. That’s what makes us sad.
There are all sorts of ‘lost’ relationships. I will not talk about the loss of parents, friends, or even that horrible thought, children.
Here I will only address the loss of a lover. If the relationship was a long-term one there will be decades to go over. If shorter, there will be strong thoughts of what was and what might have been. If the ending was when things were going well that will leave little to regret. If not, there will be recriminations and sorrow over what should have been different.
There is that story of a long- term marriage that wasn’t so great. The couple decides to go away for the weekend and maybe patch things up. They go to a romantic hotel and as they walk in they see a wishing well. With that, the husband throws in a coin. The wife follows and when she leans over to throw in her coin she and falls and hits her head so badly she dies instantly. The husband then turns to a man next to him saying, “I’ll be damned… this thing really works!” Yes, some people do wish others were, in fact, dead.
In a good connection, however, the loss due to death is fraught with overwhelming grief. If the partner suffered or had a debilitating or long illness death can be seen as a good escape from pain. If it is sudden and unexpected the shock can take a long time to incorporate or even believe.
There are many, ‘what ifs’ in almost every death. History is replete with lovers killing themselves when a loved one dies. In parts of the world historically and even today wives were killed when their husbands died. How’s that playing out in your head? You can try to help yourself in any variety of ways but drugs, alcohol, and being busy may not ‘cut’ it in the short term. Only time will heal.
All we have is the here and now. All we have are other relationships. You must try to ‘talk’ to yourself. You can remember this is now and that was then.
One person, I know said she kept forcing herself to think of Elizabeth Taylor and what she went through when Richard Burton left her the final time.
He left saying she was so all consuming he could not be a person in his own right with her. She went ‘crazy’ and it took until the end of her own life to end the strong bond she shared. He called her all the time after he left and she did go on but, not quite as before.
Sometimes a big part of your heart goes with the deceased. Then you go through the motions of living but without that joie de vivre, (joy of life). The world is bleaker and your relationships are not as they were before. The thought of a new love is not there for a while, if ever. That will move you along and age is not an issue; you can be young or old.
There will also be comparisons with anyone else you let into your life. Often no one will measure up so no replacement can occur. It is not like that new puppy when the old dog dies!
Some parts of this puzzle will never fit and some questions can never be answered. If you have had the good fortune of sharing a special deep love people will tell you how lucky you were to have had that. While it is a true statement it doesn’t heal much. It only brings back those now missed moments. We do not get through this life having everything turn out as we wish. How we handle disappointment and loss is all part of this package called being human.
Loss of a loved partner is the most devastating of what we are forced to accept. It also is the main reason many people become ill at that point… so beware and protect that heart as best you can. He or she is with you.
“People who are in despair always make a mistake when they hang themselves; the next day often brings the unknown.” – Henri Frederic Amiel