Permission to Grieve

Sunday 7th September 2003 at 7pm is one of those dates and times that is etched in my mind and my heart forever. That was the exact moment that my world, as I knew it, ceased to exist and a new life began. It was the moment I met the man that I knew, without any words needing to be spoken, would play a major role in my life. And he did. We fell madly in love, planned our lives together and began the journey of forever.

And then we didn’t. I changed, he changed, we changed but we were no more. It was a very tough decision to make but it was the right one and yet every year on that date and at that time (and for a few days leading up to it and a for days afterwards) I find myself feeling sad and feeling as though I made a mistake and that if I just change who I am, go back to who I was and if I just try harder and if I love him more and be who he needs me to be, then it can work and I can go back to my happy ever after.

Every year without fail I beat myself up for feeling this way but this year I stopped and instead I allowed those feelings to have a voice. What I heard, when I gave myself permission to really listen and feel what was going on, was deep rooted grief, not only for the man I’d walked away from, because despite our relationship not working out, he’s still the man I loved, but also for the loss of our hopes and dreams. The loss of the life I had dreamt about with him; children, grandchildren, fun, laughter, travel, old age and everything else in between that constitutes an entire life spent together. That dream had died and that was what I’d never allowed myself to look at or feel before.

I realised that I hadn’t done this because my limiting beliefs made me think that it wasn’t acceptable or that by feeling it, it must mean I was still in love with him or that I wanted him back and yet I knew, had he have died, then it would have been ok to grieve these ‘big’ dates in our time together but because we are both alive and because we’ve chosen to be apart, and mainly because it was me that made that decision, then I didn’t feel as though I should be feeling the way I did, as though I didn’t have the right to feel it or that in some way it was wrong.

But why not? Why shouldn’t I grieve for someone I once loved so deeply? Someone that meant so much to me that I imagined the rest of my life being shared with him. Why did I think it was unacceptable to grieve on this day? 

I loved him so fucking much.

Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, holistically. I loved him, and my world spun off its axis when we parted. 

So last night, exactly 11 years after we first met, I cried for him and I cried for us. I cried for the love we shared, the dream we planned and the pain that we both endured at each other’s hands. I simply allowed myself to do so, knowing that it was ok and that it didn’t mean anything more. It just was what it was and what it needed to be. Grief expressed and all grief is acceptable, without exception. 

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