Breaking Up- Another Kind of Grief

*written January 2021*

I went through a breakup right before Christmas. And if we’re being completely honest, my first huge breakup well… ever.

Can you believe I’m 27 and just had my first gut-punching, heart-wrenching breakup? I can’t. I feel like this kind of heartache is something people usually start to encounter in their teens. It’s a little embarrassing that it took me this long.

I won’t say how it ended- except that I wish him a lifetime of happiness and love- because this blog is about grief, is it not? No need for other talk. So let’s get to it.

The lack of him feels like a limb has gone missing from my body.

That sensation made sense to me with mom’s death. It felt like a whole chunk of my heart was gone.

But… the difference now is that he’s still here, out in the world, just… not with me.

I’m now grieving for a person who is still alive.

With my mom, I always think of it as simply missing her- no complications between us, no regret, no mess is bigger than that one simple fact. Just missing. That’s a pure kind of grief. Our love ended because it HAD to. The laws of nature defined that ending.

This love ended out of choice, because we needed it.

That’s different.

Harsher. Darker. More confusing.

I don’t simply miss his presence, I mourn something intangible about the two of us that we had created together.

Then, I felt silly. How could I be hurting so intensely about a breakup when I had already experienced what I have? This is nothing compared to literal death…. but…. losing love is losing love. No matter how it happens or what shape it takes, that’s a fact. And this was a kind of love I’d never had before.

The breakup happened the week before the 5th anniversary of Mom’s death. I don’t know why 5 years felt so big, but it did. The split added to it and created a haze of despair in my head.

But it also helped me see everything through a different facet of the prism.

I’ve been told I have abandonment problems… which I resisted at first because my mom didn’t LEAVE me at her own will.

But she was still gone… and it felt like perhaps the universe, god, the powers that be, might choose to take anything they wanted away from me at any time.

That’s exactly what this breakup feels like- like the universe said “not for you” and plucked it out of my hands. And the kicker was that, this time, I had done it. I had prompted fate to intervene. My grief was all my own fault.

And then it feels scary, or unwise even, to lean into anyone else- who knows who else will disappear from your life?

But you have to fight that. A life spent isolating yourself from others out of fear will only leave you lonely and with regrets. So pour into your other loved ones. Feeling alone and left behind is HARD. But not harder than a life with no possibility and hope.

And then, when I most needed it, in my distress in the weeks following, my sweet friend handed back to me the words I have given you: “listen to your gut, even when you feel gutted.”

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