I’m grieving, and not in a way I found immediately obvious. Please allow me to explain.
A few years ago, my stable relationship ended. The person who had filled my needs for love, connection, companionship, and touch was gone. I was so used to having the person there and those needs filled, that when they left, it was jarring. Gone was my predictable world and this uncertainty brought up suffering. I was grieving what I once had.
Perhaps you’ve been there before? Even if you were the one who ended the relationship, you likely were still grieving the comfortable certainty you once had for those very human needs for love, connection, and companionship.
“Think positive,” your friends might tell you, “there are more fish in the sea.” Part of you knows that there will be more love out there to find, and yet no matter how much you distract (or even go on dates), something still doesn’t feel quite right. It could manifest as a feeling of sadness, anger, or even just an uncomfortable knot in your chest. I’m quite familiar with that knot that sits just underneath my heart.
There are lots of reasons that suffering happens after a relationship ends, and one is grieving the certainty of that person being there to fill your cup. But I’m not here to talk about relationships. I’m here to talk about something else I think many of us have been experiencing, which looks similar.
Two months ago, my life was pretty comfortable. I was getting pretty effective at filling my human needs for growth, learning, connection, play, rest, relaxation, and dreams/goals. I felt happy and excited by planning out my future then getting to experience my plans.
And then the Corona Virus hit, all my plans started getting canceled, and I felt frustrated and powerless. From lunches with friends to family vacations & meetups & conferences & workshops. I’d think, “A little longer and things will be more certain.” I’d check the news in the morning and end up disappointed again. I’d look at events coming up, hoping night after night that they’d not cancel, only to have them cancel and add to my feeling of anger.
Part of me still wants things to go back to the way they were. Part of me is still grieving the way things used to be, my loss of certainty, and I have that same sort of lump in my chest.
I can easily dismiss this part of me. “At least I have a job,” “At least my family is healthy,” “At least I have a place to live and food on my table.” Just like the friends who tell me, “there are more fish in the sea,” it doesn’t help what’s going on. It doesn’t help with the part of me that is grieving my loss of certainty. I realize now that by allowing myself to grieve, I can begin to accept my new reality.
However, I’m not in acceptance yet. I still want what I had before. Just like the end of a relationship, I have to finish grieving.
- Yes, I can replace real life with the virtual.
- Yes, I can be grateful for what I have.
- Yes, I can be optimistic and realistic about the future.
- Yes, I know if I embrace uncertainty, I can be surprised by what does show up.
But I am not there yet. A part of me is still grieving what my life was like two months ago, and that is okay.
If you’re grieving certainty, I’d love to hear that I’m not alone. If you’re here to tell me there are “more fish in the sea,” or to “be optimistic”, please don’t bother.