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Accepting the Loss of a Loved One and Finding Peace Again

Man Praying

“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

About Antoniya Zorluer

Antonia is a spiritual seeker, personal development, success and happiness writer on and offline. She helps people live a happier life through her blog Minty Hideout. You can find more of her experiences and happiness tools on her blog mintyhideout.com.

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  • Sherron Edwards

    Yes I too believe our souls never die as energy is dispersed. The body is merely a host & the physical being is the loss not their soul. Thank you for defining & sharing your perspective on loss.

  • This is a beautiful post Antoniya. Losing someone is the most difficult test of all, but perhaps we haven’t lost them after all. They are part of the world, and part of us. They remain present in our memories and in the way they have shaped us.
    Thank you for sharing!

  • MJ

    I lost a beautiful friend to cancer last year. This was a reminder that she is just as interconnected now as before she passed. Lovely article. Thank you.

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    Thanks for reading the article, Peter. I completely agree with you. People we love are never gone from our lives as long as the love is there!

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    You are most welcome MJ, I am glad this article was helpful to you!

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    You are very welcome, Sherron. A good thing to remember is that we are not our bodies, as you say, we are a soul that experiences being human, that’s how I see it. And when the experience is over, the soul needs to move on to the next one.

  • Chris Gentry

    Thank you for this article. I lost my 17 year old cat to cancer last Saturday.

  • Andrew

    Thank you for this very well written article and the initial quote.

  • I’m still here

    Matthew 16:19

  • Sara Davis

    Beautiful perspective. LOVE this.

  • Peace Within

    Thank you. Realizing this when I lost my loved ones was really what helped me heal and understand. They will be in my heart forever. They are a part of me. <3

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    You are very welcome!

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    Thank you Sara, glad you liked it!

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    You are welcome, Chris. So sorry to hear about losing your long time cat friend.

  • Great post Antoniya; I can relate. I lost a friend a year ago to cancer and I have the same feeling that she’s still here somehow. Thanks for sharing your story this is very inspiring.

  • I too had a similar experience – but have never thought of it the way you express it. A truly enlightening article – thank you so much!

  • mathildamoon15

    Wow. This article reminds me of the famous poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye:

    Do Not Stand By My Grave And Weep

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sun on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there; I did not die.

  • john Pearce

    Yes loved ones are always there for love never dies

  • So beautiful…. Thank you!

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    This is truly an amazing poem! Thank you for sharing.

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    You are welcome Halina. You are so right, we are never alone because we are part of everything and everything is part of us.

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    You are so very welcome, Anne. I am glad my experience can help others.

  • Bill Lee

    Hi Antoniya. What a wonderful gift you have given us with your post. Your ability to embrace the concept of impermanence is inspiring. With gratitude and a smile. _/_

  • linacostaa

    ——>

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    It is my pleasure to be able to touch people’s hearts with my experience. Keep smiling!

  • Luna

    beautiful and so true. Thank you for sharing

  • ellen

    Beautiful! I couldn’t help but cry while reading this. In times of loss, I have often found comfort in the realization that those who have left are still here, just in different form. And also in the memories, the way they have shaped me and others and other tangible ways. Though I’ve had these realizations, they have not come upon me in dealing with the loss of someone who is still here in the physical world. I started reading your post with the intent to apply it to this loss, which still hurts very much even after years have passed. Doing so has brought me great comfort and is something I will hold on to when my heart wants to mourn and resist change. I can accept that he is still here, just in different form. Thank you for allowing me to come to this realization.

  • ellen

    AHHHH. I had just stopped crying from reading the post, then lost it again reading this beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing!

  • Guest

    . ,,,, View It Here…

  • Angie

    Beautiful article! I was really moved by this. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Stefaniya Koleva

    Amazing side of the story…it really touched me and made me think…Thank you, Antoniya!

  • Xi Ming

    This article really awesome . After finished it through I got some idea to do not let myself in moody . When we lose a beloved one , I agree that it’s about hard to accept the truth to what happened. We feel like we were idea the middle of the sea or even the dark place and we don’t know how to keep moving . I was really stuck and my heart almost stop after I lose my boyfriend. I don’t know what to do and how to walk forward . Be upset, be mad and I never know how to cope with it . Later I just try to tell myself to what he told me about “strong ” . Yeah , sometimes I can do it but some it still in moody .
    But after reading this article in feel like I should be have more idea to help me from sadness to be stronger. I really thanks for your sharing .

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    You are so very welcome, Xi Ming! Loss is maybe the hardest thing we have to live through, so give yourself time before all. I am so sorry you had to part with your boyfriend and wish you to find peace again.

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    You are welcome, Angie! I hope it helped even if a little bit.

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    Happy to have touched your heart, Stefaniya!

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    Thank you so much for sharing your story too, Ellen. Loss can mean different things and I can see how having someone away even if they have not passed is a very difficult experience as well. I like to think that I am happier to have known and lost someone than I would have been never knowing them.

  • sherry1

    Hello!
    That’s really amazing!..thank you so much for these words..i was criying while reading this..Actully i did lose the one that i thought he will be my man…but he didn’t die (really) he just moved on without me….like u said i’ve been losing hope and i’m losing hope u know :'( ……he didn’t tell me that he moved on but his acting like a man that i don’t even know showed that he did move on …Now i’m hopeless and i want get over him cuz that feeling of loss kills me .Thank you again

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    You are welcome Sherry, I am happy my article is helpful for you! As I say here – any change is hard, but even harder when we resist it. Surrender and you will find peace.

  • vivian0942

    ;

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    Thank you for reading, Leslie, and also for sharing this amazing book with everyone! I am sure you just made a huge difference in someone’s life. I will be looking to get the book as well. I am happy that you have found the post useful!

  • Allie

    I like to use these thoughts with the ending of relationships as well. Sometimes splitting with somebody, whether it’s a friend, family member, or partner, can feel as equal to death. This post really resonated with me, and I congratulate you on finding peace with the situation. I have never been in this position, but your words inspire me nonetheless and will help guide me through similar situations. Thank you!

  • LaTrice Dowe

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post, Antoniya. I had to deal with my best friend’s death seven years ago, and to this day, I still can’t believe she’s gone.

    My best friend and I graduated from high school together, and she was the only person that I maintained contact with. She accepted me for who I was as a human being, and best of all, she embraced the friendship. I remember flying to Florida to spend the week with her, and the two of us went to Walt Disney World for three days. I don’t regret seeing her for one last time.

    The last time I heard from my best friend was a month before she passed away. She told me that her and her parents were moving to Arizona, and she was planning on taking evening classes at a community college, since she wanted to become a nurse. She was asking me about my experience as a college student, and I couldn’t help but be happy for her. I wanted to watch my best friend succeed, and was looking forward to sharing her success. I told her to let me know when she was settled, so I can come for a visit for her 25th birthday.

    I called my best friend on her birthday, but her phone went to voicemail. I kept calling her for a few days to see if she was all right, and if she was already settled. Her stepmom called me back on her cell phone, and gave me a different phone number, so she can talk to me about my best friend. My heart went to my stomach. I knew something was wrong. I called her stepmom when I got up, and was told that she passed away. I cried for days. I had to accept the harsh reality of getting on with my life without her.

    My best friend was cremated, and her cremains were going to be spread in Montana, where her older sister lived. I didn’t have the strength to say good-bye to her physically. She was a huge fan of Martina McBride, so when I hear one of her songs, I think of my best friend.

    I understand that my life will NEVER be the same, but I shouldn’t spend the rest of my life with my head held down. I have made new friends for the past seven years, but nobody can replace my best friend.

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    Hi LaTrice, and thank you for sharing your story! Yes, your life will never be the same but not because you lost your best friend but because you had her. And you don’t need to go on living without her because she is in your heart and in the Martina McBride songs, she is still here, just not in the same way.

    I am happy you have experience a relationship in which you have felt loved and understood as a human being, this is true happiness, and some of us never get to it. I love your friend for giving you this!

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    You are welcome, Allie! I completely agree with you, loss has many faces.

  • Guthries Machine

    At first, reading this, I snarked to myself, “This sounds like denial.” But then the ending, the last sentence, brought it all together. Beautiful teaching. Thank you.

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  • This is where we can put our meditation practice to work – to meditate on the pain of loss – and the more you hold that pain within the embrace of consciousness and compassion (mindfulness) the more the pain will heal.

    Peter Strong, PhD

    Boulder Center for Online Mindfulness Therapy for Anxiety and Depression.

    Author of ‘The Path of Mindfulness Meditation’ (Amazon, Kindle). Inquiries welcome!

  • This is where we can put our meditation practice to work – to meditate
    on the pain of loss – and the more you hold that pain within the embrace
    of consciousness and compassion (mindfulness) the more the pain will
    heal.

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    Beautifully said John!

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    You’re welcome, Andrew, hope you enjoyed it 🙂

  • NDavies88

    This is beautiful.
    Thank you so much for your words, they were exactly what I needed right now. I am far from accepting the loss I have felt but you put into words everything that I am feeling in a way that I was unable to. You have helped me untangle some of the knots in my mind and this new acceptance that the way I am feeling is perfectly normal and is, in fact, to be expected has eased the pain just enough to enable me to see a way through it.
    I stumbled across this blog whilst trying desperately to find some way to quell the pain I feel and instead I was able to remember that I do believe that loved ones never truly leave us. It is difficult to accept that we will not share or make any new memories together but we still share many precious moments and these memories will slowly lose the stab of pain that currently accompanies them. One day I will remember them with the happiness I experienced when making them.
    Thank you for this moment of clarity and calm in the eye of the viscous storm I felt swept up in.
    Peace to you.

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    Peace to you too 🙂 I’m so glad reading this article helped you sooth the pain even if it’s just a very tiny bit. Sometimes, this is all we need to keep moving forward and realize that what happened is not the end, it’s the beginning of something new. Baby steps….never forget…. Drop by drop, the rain makes an ocean. With love, Minty.

  • me

    I’ve lost my mother….
    In the first days, the pain you feel loosing someone you love makes it seem a nightmare you wanna wake up of … As days go by, you start with regrets, with guilt, thinking you could’ve done something, anything to keep her with you for a while longer…but i’m trying not to do that anymore… Maybe God needed her at his side , maybe she’s part of something more beautiful, and i know that whatever she is now, and wherever she is, she is watching over me and guiding my every step.
    I’m trying to do stuff she loved and, trying to be strong because I know she wanted me to be fine not broken in pieces, that’s what she wished, that I’d be OK. And eventually I will, and also you guys. We just need to let time heal our wounds…
    May she rest in piece and watch over me always….

  • Having experienced a loss recently, like many, I’ve been searching desperately for answers to questions I’m not certain can ever be answered. I stumbled upon this and other like-minded sentiments from the web, and while very beautiful, I can’t help but rationalize that if it’s true, that our loved ones have “transitioned” to another state, and that if someday we might be lucky enough to find ourselves reunited once our own time is up, why shouldn’t we speed up the process? Not acknowledging I actually believe that anything exists afterwards (though obviously it would be nice), but if there was, and there was a chance to be together again, I see no reason why I shouldn’t want that. I’m not wanting death, I’m hoping for a reunion, and it makes sense to have that sooner rather than later.

    (Don’t worry, I’m not thinking of doing anything stupid.)

  • Desiree S.

    Thank you for this. I now understand and can come to terms with this transformation of our being. I wish you peace and happiness in life. This is more valuable than you can even imagine. I and my family thank you for writing such an eloquent story and sharing with us your healing journey.

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    Thank you for reading Desiree! Much love to you and your family!

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    While it’s tempting to think in this way, I believe it’s a little bit limited and misguided to think that in the reunion you’ll be able to recognize each other in the way you did here on Earth, in this life. Because, neither you or your loved one will be a human being anymore, not in the way you’re now.

    I imagine it as becoming ONE with the energy that creates everything in life….

    Imagine yourself as a snowflake. And your loved one is another snowflake. As you fall from the sky to the ground, you might experience the journey together, enjoy, play, dance even. And hen you see you’re approaching the ground and under you there’s a lake. You see your loved snowflake touch the lake first and turn into water. that might seem like a loss because they’re not a snowflake anymore. The snowflake is gone. It’s water now. But soon enough you reach the surface of the lake as well. And you stop being a snowflake now, you become lake as well. And your loved one is also lake. You are together. You’re reunited. But neither of you can find the other and experience the other as a snowflake. Because now you’re something bigger and stronger. You’re a lake together.

    I hope this helps you better understand the miracle that life is. Constant transformation of the whole….And each snowflake has its time to reach the lake 🙂

    We might fight it as humans but it’s the most natural and beautiful thing!

  • Antoniya Koleva Zorluer

    Thank you for sharing! I can’t even begin to imagine what it would feel to loose a mother. I feel very sorry you’re going through this. But you’re right–her love will always be with you and it will help you heal and learn to “see” her in a different way..

  • Carol

    What should we do if we find someone plagiarizing your work..?

  • Elle

    Hi.I’m from Manila and I’m on my searching the answers for my broken heart since my beloved,childhood buddy my twin brother passed away last January on exactly on my birthday. Every time I woke up I feel like what happened is just a dream…nothing happened to him..he is just far away and working for his kids.I am totally devastated and once thinking to end my life if that is the only way I could see him again. I dont know what to do anymore..while reading all the different comments here I feel a little relieve… I hope soon, I can find the peace and acceptance so I could go back into normal life..

  • Shashwat Asthana

    my brother sarthak asthana i used to call him tinny i lost him in an accident about month ago he was my best friend my brother my colleague stood by me evry where in every walk of life respected me a lot and loved me life is not d same and i know it will never be its not that easy but reading post like these gives some relief peace and courage i have to look after my parents now thanks for the motivation and good work that you are doing god bless you