“Life is a process of becoming. A combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” ~Anais Nin
Meaningful relationships are crucial to our happiness. We need the human bond to feel connected and joyful, and we enjoy life much more when we share it with people we love.
There are times, however, when we are forcefully separated from our loved ones. Coping with loss can be one of the most difficult things we ever have to do. Everyone copes with grief differently, and some of us never do.
When we lose someone we love, it distorts our universe and our peace, and nothing seems right. There is a future that will never exist and a past that we want to go back to, and we feel like we can’t be further from the present moment and reality.
For a long time, whenever I thought of a friend that I lost last August, I saw all of the vanished possibilities, all of the things he wouldn’t experience and I couldn’t share with him.
I lost my wedding’s best man, my childhood partner in crime, at a very young age from a medical condition that nobody knew about. It happened in such a snap that nobody could believe it.
I used to walk the beach and burst into tears because he could never come and walk it with me again.
I kept thinking about all of the future events that would never happen, and I couldn’t find peace and acceptance.
I asked questions like “why?” and “how?” and didn’t receive any answers.
One day while I was sitting in my garden, playing with my dogs, and wishing that my friend could be there to enjoy the day with me, the answer that I was waiting for came to me:
He was not gone; he had just changed.
He was there—in the garden, in the air, in the wind, in the sunshine, in the leaves of the trees, in my heart.
I finally realized that what I was trying to cope with was not a loss but a change.
We tend to resist change as strongly as we can, trying to stay in our current state of comfort and security because change is hard.
But life is a constant change—sometimes severe, like the loss of someone we love; sometimes wanted, like a new home; and sometimes surprising, like moving to another country and discovering that you love it.
Our loved ones change, life changes, and we have to change too.
Nothing is actually lost in the universe. Everything is energy and energy is never lost. My friend might not be a part of the material world anymore, he might not be a person in the sense of a human being, but he is a part of the world somehow. I don’t know how, but I know he is.
I believe that the people we think we lose transform into something else and move on to the next stage of life. They are still here, but not in the same way as before.
They are in everything we have learned from them, in their creations, in their children, in our hearts and memories. I know my friend is still here when I hear his voice telling me how to do something or where to look for something I can’t find.
Knowing that my friend is not gone but rather changed into something I don’t understand makes it easier to accept reality. It gives me peace of mind.
I can finally accept that he has moved on, and I need to do the same.
When we lose someone we love, everything changes.
This is not a change that we have anticipated or wanted. We may wonder if we will ever be the same, if we will go back to our old self. We can’t and we won’t. After such a traumatic change we have only one way to cope: change ourselves too.
Nothing can bring them back. Nothing can “undo” anything that happens in life. We have to move forward. Without accepting the change, we make it much harder to do so. We can’t find peace because we feel that something is broken or wrong, but it isn’t; it is just different.
If you lost someone, know that they are not gone; they, too, are different.
For a long time, I resisted the fact that I would need to change my plans and my visions.
But eventually, I had to do it. Now, instead of dreaming about how my future kids will one day meet their parents’ best man and learn so much from him, I dream about telling them stories about a friend that changed my life.
Man at sunset image via Shutterstock