Love Doesn't Die After Loss, It Changes
Losing someone who brings light into your life places you at the start of a painful path. The emptiness you feel tears you apart inside because something has been ripped out of you. Indeed, when a relationship remains, but the thread has broken, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the feeling that life has become grayer, colder, and darker. But does love ever die? Experience tells us that feelings don’t die but are transformed.
The symptoms that accompany an act of loss are encompassed in the process of mourning. It’s widely believed that mourning only occurs when someone dies. However, in reality, mourning can occur in various situations. For instance, a separation from your partner, the loss of an object of personal value, or even processes like ghosting.
“Loss is an event that marks people in many ways due to the different ways in which it is possible to lose something. In fact, it is possible to lose everything from material objects to abstract values, such as ideals or identity, including health, people, and the affective relationships that are built with them.”
The elaboration of grief is difficult. It involves the transformation of many emotions, thoughts, and behaviors related to whatever has been lost. The objective pursued is easy to understand. It’s to accept reality and overcome pain. The ultimate goal is the recomposition of the sufferer’s internal world. In narrative therapy, nothing dies but is transformed.
Your love doesn’t die
When you lose someone because they’ve died or disappeared, your love remains. Their absence makes you cry and they’re still present in your thoughts. Moreover, the love you profess for them lies dormant, in a different way from before.
“The pain of loss often arises so suddenly that it feels like incoherence, which introduces significant changes in the vision of oneself and the world and therefore begins a reevaluation process about what life was like before everything.”
Making sense of the pain of loss also involves making sense of yourself. According to the psychiatrist, Kübler Ross, the stages that people go through when suffering a loss are:
- Denial. This allows us to lessen the emotional impact of the loss.
- Anger. It allows us to express the pain we feel.
- Bargaining. The attempt to recover what we’ve lost.
- Depression. Due to the realization that we can’t regain what we’ve lost.
- Acceptance. Feelings of peace and tranquility that allow us to gradually recover our state of mind and personal stability.
“An experience as painful as loss is not a simple fact that you ‘digest’ over time.”
Narratives about grief
The narratives you form about grief refer to the language you construct to give it meaning. In effect, you try to find meaning in the things that have happened to you. Thinking about the love that, in the past, you professed to a person who’s now absent allows you to reflect, reevaluate, and build meaning for the relationship that you had and the facts you shared.
Over time, where once there was pain, beautiful memories, anecdotes, and admiration now remain. In narrative therapy, the way you talk about the people you’ve lost has great value. So, the more ways that are used to think, reflect and talk about what happened, the greater the possibility of building a less painful version of events.
Elaborating, building, and transforming pain implies generating new narratives. It also means weaving and intermingling them, unifying your life before the loss with your current life, so that they can converge. As Brian Jacques said, “Don’t be ashamed to weep; ’tis right to grieve. Tears are only water and flowers, trees, and fruits cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us”.It might interest you...