Relationships and Grief

Did you know that we grieve over relationships? Many people mourn the loss of a friendship, a marriage, a lost love. The grieving process for a relationship that has ended is much the same as that of when a person dies. Sometimes I think it may be worse, because when someone dies there is usually some kind of closure. But when something dies, we don’t always have the tangible feeling of complete finality.

In fact, the loss of a relationship is often more difficult to accept and live with, because the person with whom we’ve had that closeness is still living. Sometimes they are still in our lives, and we must face them occasionally. It is difficult to see them, talk with them, know that they have moved on. Yet we still grieve.

I think the process is the same for grieving, no matter what caused the grief. We still have to go through the stages. There’s the stage of denial, when we just can’t believe the relationship is over. Then comes bargaining, when we rationalize things and would do anything, change anything, just to get that relationship back. Then along comes anger, resentment, and other emotions. For some, depression enters in. Then, after much time, is the final acceptance.

In my unrealistic world, I want all relationships to be healed and reconciled. It’s my ideal for my life. But I know it is just that. Someone told me recently that ALL RELATIONSHIPS END IN A LOSS. What that person meant was that even if we have the same relationship for all of our lives, eventually even our life will end, and therefore, so will the relationship.

What are we to do then? Not have any relationships? No, I think that our lives are enriched and blessed by the people who are in our lives. Whether they remain in our lives for twenty minutes, or twenty years, I think that each relationship is to be valued.

But when a marriage ends, or a friendship ends, or some other kind of closeness ends, we still grieve. It is a normal process. Sometimes others don’t see it that way. “Get over it and move on”  is the common bit of advice we hear.

“There are other fish in the sea” or, “that person was never your friend anyway.”

What advice we sometimes hear! Yet what people don’t seem to understand is, although they mean well by their words,we are still grieving. That person with whom we’ve shared our thoughts with, or our dreams with, or even our intimacy with, is no longer close to us. And we are hurting.

Why am I writing all of this? Perhaps just to plainly say that not all grief is caused by the death of some one, but rather of some thing. And that it’s okay to mourn the loss of a great friendship, or years of marriage, etc.

The bible states that to every thing there is a time and a season under heaven. And perhaps that’s just it. Some relationships last our entire lifetimes. Others do not. It is part of life, and part of our living it that brings us to and through the relationships in our lives. And it’s okay to realize that the reason we are so “upset” over something, is because we are grieving over it.

It’s okayto take time and go through the process of mourning a relationship. It’s normal to feel the pain of the process. It’s not unusual for our hearts to hurt when we’ve lost something that was precious to us. Relationships are precious.We are precious. We are worth the time and effort that it takes to mourn.

We should also understand that the painful feelings we may have today will eventually heal. Things will get better. We will forge on somehow, and we will become better people because of it.So go ahead and let yourself grieve over the lost relationship. You are a person who feels,and one day you will feel much better.