The Mighty Logo

To Anyone Who Has Lost a Loved One

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Dear whoever is reading this.

Maybe we are friends. Maybe you do not know me. But know this is one of the single most painful things I have ever written. As I write it, I also hope it brings me some comfort too. I hope in some way it may for you too, even if it’s a feeling of being less alone — because grief is lonely.

The first weeks and months people swarm around, and the texts, the messages, the calls flood in; but you’re numb to it, so you ignore them in hope that if you don’t acknowledge this is happening maybe it won’t be real. Then they stop, and that’s fine. People move on with their lives. Those who didn’t have the closeness go back to normality. People stop remembering about it every day — but you don’t. You’re only just starting to come to terms with this massive void that has now entered your life. You’ll lose friends because people don’t know what to say to you or think you should be “moving on” as if it’s just the next step to go through. All the time you’re breaking inside.

Death is incomprehensible, especially when it strikes someone unexpectedly. Unexpected grief is horrid and immeasurable. I don’t believe the human mind is ever truly capable of understanding the sudden loss of a loved one. Never being able to speak to, see or hold another person is an unrecognizable thought.

I lost my mum on October 21, 2017, and since then my life has never been the same. Losing a parent at any age must be hard, but losing one so young brings a feeling of being cheated. You’ve been cheated out of those moments a parent should be there for: your wedding, having children, watching you step into adulthood… I felt even more cheated that Saturday because the next day was my wedding, the day my mum was meant to be at, a day we had planned with her being present at. I remember a day that should have been filled with excitement and joy being replaced by a nightmare — an unexpected tragedy where my world was collapsing before my eyes. A piece of my soul was taken from me that day, and I didn’t know how to survive without it. Some days I still don’t.

From someone who has, and still is, living with the pain of loss I want to say how sorry I am for your loss, and I truly hope you aren’t alone. I know those words don’t help, and you’ve probably heard them a hundred times before, but you aren’t alone! I know some days feel as you can’t go on. I know as a person you’ve changed. I know that raw feeling where you just don’t know what to do. I know all of this because I am feeling it too.

Grief is hard and painful, but it’s essential and needed. It allows you to get through this pain and truly understand it. You are strong and brave because I know how hard it is. There is no time limit, there is no secret cure; we all grieve in different ways, and that is fine. We as humans aren’t all programmed the same way, so why would our grief be? It’s OK to be absolutely livid. You can be mad. It’s OK to feel cheated and betrayed. It’s OK to let your blood boil and feel authentic rage from the injustice your loved one was served and from the injustice everyone was served by losing a person they were supposed to have for a long time. It’s OK to be devastated too. It’s OK to be broken. It’s OK to take to your time. It’s OK to question everything. It’s OK to cry and yell and lock yourself in your room when you need to. It’s OK to never stop feeling that sadness in many ways.

You will have good days, and you will have bad days. You will feel happiness again, and then you will feel guilt. There will be moments you feel strong again and start to accept this tragedy, and then others when you simply won’t. I know this because I’ve fed them all.

It’s nearly been nine months since I lost my mum, and I know I’m not even starting my journey, and I’ve accepted that. Whether it’s been nine days, nine months or nine years, your grief is valid. We don’t get over the loss of our loved ones. We just learn to rebuild our lives around the heartbreak we are facing!

To everyone who’s lost someone too soon, know you are not alone in your struggle in this life, and I wish you all the strength and love through your journey. To those who are maybe lucky enough to have not lost someone, be there for your loved ones who have; they may seem like they are fine, but sometimes it’s just that we are floating and need some grounding.

Remember life is beautiful, and I hope you’re able to find peace with your loss.

All my best,

Someone who understands

Getty image by KatarzynaBialasiewicz.

Originally published: October 30, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home