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Have you ever been through something life changing and thought you had recovered or healed from this experience, but then you find yourself grieving a part of it again years later? Maybe in this year of where everything is crazy and all plans have either been altered significantly or cancelled altogether this has been happening more than others in our life history.
I know this has happened to me. Five and a half years ago I filed for divorce from my husband. He has stalled the court proceedings for this long, so I decided along the way to take this time to heal and rediscover myself.
After all this time and work I still find myself running into things that we had planned to do and get choked up. I have realized that I am going to run into these things from time to time. My reaction is still to mourn it. I’m still grieving the life I thought I was going to have.
I know it isn’t because I miss him or am lonely. It’s more of grieving that opportunity that I lost in the relationship. I can take a second or minute to mourn that opportunity. This doesn’t mean that I need to stay there and suffer this loss over and over, or for an extended period of time. Neither do you!
Instead we can create or seize the opportunity when it comes around again. I have noticed that opportunities that are meant to be, come around more than once, or the desire to make those dreams come true never really leaves you.
Now please understand that this doesn’t apply to toxic relationships. Those relational opportunities come back around to see if you have learned the lessons you were supposed to learn previously. Sometimes the lesson is “No! Don’t touch, don’t speak, no contact whatsoever.”
What do we need do when we start to grieve a lost opportunity?
Let yourself have some time to feel the emotions of the loss. Cry if you need to, write in your journal, write it down on a piece of paper and burn it. Take a walk and talk it over to yourself. Let yourself have some time to process your feelings. This can take minutes to a day, sometimes we need longer, but also sometimes we like to hold on to it and it takes longer.
Sometimes smaller pieces come up years later, for instance: I have been dreaming lately about traveling to more tropical climates. Then I think of all the plans we had made and all the places we wanted to visit, yet now these are all not going to happen in the way that I had set in my mind for many years.
Is this a dream that you could bring about even now? Is this something you need to completely let go of? Is there another way to make your dream come true? Chances are we have had both types of dreams; some to let go of and some to strive for. Maybe you’re just mourning the loss of the avenue to get to your dreams. In that case you need to decide a new route to obtaining your dream.
Can I still travel to tropical places? Absolutely! Will the company I have when I go be different? Absolutely! Will it take me longer to have the funds to go? Absolutely! I haven’t crossed it off my bucket list, and I think I will appreciate it way more since I have to really plan it out, work hard, and probably gift up some indulgences to be able to go. I then think about all the times I did travel with my ex husband and how traveling can be different with a better ending.
If you have decided this dream is something you need in your life, plan it out. Plan out the steps you need to take. Break it down into small bites so that it is more easily obtainable and not so overwhelming. Keep track of your progress and look back to see how far you have come.
I make out a list of the things I need to do to get to the goal. Sometimes this looks like a checklist. Sometimes it looks like a bar graph and I color in the squares of progress. I’m visual, so I need a visual representation of my progress.
Or Let it Go
I have to admit this is hard for me. I equate letting it go with quitting and failure, as I’m sure a lot of you do as well. I have learned that Letting go isn’t either of those things especially when you are doing all that you can with no forward momentum. In those times you really need to let go of things or they will destroy you. We have to let things go because they aren’t for us or their time has passed.
For me I had to let my marriage go. I was the only one building while he was dismantling. I held on for so long and so tightly, it nearly destroyed me and has taken its toll on my kids. It was past time to let go but I was afraid that life outside the marriage would be exactly as my husband had said it would be. Really it wasn’t bad at all, except for the times he made things difficult for us.
I heard something recently I thought applies “Don’t visit what you can’t revise.” and then “Bury the body and get out of there, move on with your life.” both by Dr. Dharius Daniels
As I have learned over the last five to six-ish years is that even if you move past the big things, some of the smaller things will pop up for you to decide on. These smaller things still bring the full package of emotions, but as you navigate through the process of “decluttering your heart” you will get better at this.
We can also being mourning a part of our lives and still continue to be mostly functional and enjoy the other parts of our lives. We need to not let this hold us down. Somethings are bigger losses than others and may take longer to grieve, but the rest of our lives helps us to see that there is more to life than that loss.
Things will come up where plans change, businesses close, and relationships end. It is quite normal to mourn the loss of these things. We cannot control all things only our response to them. But if we just feel the feelings, but not stay in that space. Then decide if our perceived loss is still doable. I know this seems a little backward, but we have the emotions first then logic comes in, at least in my perspective.
If you decide you can or want to still go though with your plans you can and modify the plans to accommodate your place in life at present moment. If you decide to let it go completely, you’ll stay in the grieving process a little longer until you let go of it completely. In the end it will all work out to your benefit if you let it.
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