12 Things to Know About the First Year of Grieving Someone You Can’t Live Without. ~ Laurie Costanza

Via on Feb 12, 2013


December of 2012, my soul mate passed away.

He was 34.

We shared a great love that we both knew we were lucky to find.

The circumstances of every loss are different. This loss has forever changed me and there have been days, many of them, that I didn’t actually think I could make it. This week it occurred to me that sharing my experience might be helpful to others. I hope that it is. My last intention is to create any more pain/suffering so if any of this offends any of you I apologize in advance. Namaste.

1. It will feel like you are dying.

2. Expect that you will viscerally know in every one of your cells that there is somewhere you would rather be and it’s not here. Not alive. Not on Earth. It’s wherever they are. This does not mean you are necessarily suicidal, just that you would rather be with them.

3. Enjoy the first year. Yes enjoy it. They will always be in your heart but may not always be as present in spirit as they are in the first year after their passing.

Nurture every tear.

Enjoy every supernatural wink they give you. Invite them to ride along in your passenger seat whenever it’s empty. Play music they loved and sing with them. Light a candle. Take a bath and talk to them. Out loud. It’s not delusion – it’s consolation for them not being embodied anymore. You can take them with you.

4. If you were in fact their soul mate know that, in the eyes of your shared friends and family, you are now a channel. Family members will call you when they want to connect with the deceased. Temporarily mute your own subconscious story and hear their stories. You will learn more than even you ever knew about your loved one, their other relationships and the imprint you left on their life. Remember everything you hear is not always true. Share memories, uplifting messages and encouragement with those you both loved and do it often. It’s a gift beyond measure and a connection to the lost loved one perhaps not otherwise available to those friends and family who also loved your soul mate. Allow them to have their story. Let it enrich yours. Trust it takes nothing away from what you shared together.

5. Whether or not they died in hospice, avail yourself of their resources, groups and counselors. They deal with death professionally and usually handle it better than us lay-folk.

6. Write a will. Assign your belongings. Write letters to those who loved you to read once you are gone. Reserve your spot next to your loved one if that is where you would like your body laid to rest. The certainty of knowing your bodies will be laid to rest together can be a welcomed relief amidst the other 23.5 torturous hours of the day.

7. Allow your grief to heal the smaller pieces of shrapnel still embedded in those further down the grief path than you are. Most humans have lost other humans they love. Your grief may remind others of their lost loved ones and allow them an opportunity to tell a story, remember a forgotten moment, or simply honor their loved by sharing the story of their life and death with you, the newly bereaved.

8. If the circumstances of their death involved unimaginable tragedy and requires obscenely insensitive legal, judicial, correctional or medical paper work, assign 30 minutes each week to address this paperwork. Send pictures of you and your loved one to the administrators handling the case. It will remind them you are not a number and that this “case” is not “unimportant.”

9. Invest in landscape centric television series that have no reminders of your loved one or your past. It’s a medicinal escape from the hard work you are doing. (Suggestions: Doc Martin. Northern Exposure.) Enjoy this mental vacation as often as necessary.

10. Cry in yoga. Tell your yoga teacher who tells you to find a smile to, kindly, fuck off.

11. Love them.

Help bury them. Honor them in an eulogy/obituary/epitaph/book/blog post or Facebook post. Participating in their transition out of this embodied life will honor your connection, help you say anything left unsaid and give you some otherwise unavailable glimpses into what’s ahead.

12. Forgive all those who don’t show up to the funeral. Forgive those who you think failed your loved one. Forgive your loved one and (I’m not there yet) forgive yourself. Relating to your loved through guilt/shame/fear will decrease the amount of time you have to relate to them through love. After all, that’s what they were here to teach you—love.

Your relationship continues once they’ve vacated the tenement of their physical body and they will sit with you, spiritually, as your body heaves and melts into a puddle of snot and tears on the bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom floors. But don’t forget, as in life, it’s easier to enjoy your time together when you build a house of love (not a prison of guilt or regret) for them to visit.

Laurie CLaurie Costanza is a yogi who currently resides in Colorado and practices power vinyasa.



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10 Responses to “12 Things to Know About the First Year of Grieving Someone You Can’t Live Without. ~ Laurie Costanza”

  1. Riet says:

    15 months ago, saterday the 14 of december i got that phonecall that he died. Today i read your words – just at the right time. Thank you for your text. I write in a journal all the mails i still want to send, i have a tattoo of something he said so very often to me on my arm.

    Missing someone isn’t about how long it has been since you’ve seen them or the amount of time since you’ve talked. It’s about that very moment when you find yourself doing something and wishing they were right there by your side.

    • Grace says:

      your words above, describing what missing someone means, or is… Is completely Spot. On. Thank you

  2. amy vosburg-casey says:

    Thank you. Yesterday was my husband’s 41st birthday & he died a year and a half ago. This second year has been more painful than the first. Amazing. It is always helpful to read & hear the words of others on the same difficult journey. Yours were especially lovely.

  3. Margaret Gray says:

    It's been 5 months since my husband died I miss him every moment of the day. If I hear anyone else say that he is better off now or in a better place I'm going to scream. He wanted to live. Thanks for the article no one knows how this feels until they have experienced it.

  4. CaitlinGrace says:

    This is truly beautiful Thank you.

  5. FKSid says:

    My soul mate died in December 2012 too in a horribly tragic accident in his own house. He was 36, the most handsome man. Love of my life, then and still is.
    I can resonate with most of the things you've written here, I have done most of them. Except for sharing the grief with friends and family as I never got the opportunity in his lifetime to become part of their lives. One thing that kept me going was writing about the grief, the pain, the unbelievable shock that woke me up in the middle of the night months after his death. I started writing letters to him. Not every day, but regularly, whenever I felt like it. Some are long, others are short. In those letters I told him everything I felt, all I was going through, how my day went, about unusual experiences from the past and how it all somehow connects to his permanent absence.
    These are highly personal letters and I'm a very private person – usually don't show my feelings to anyone. I would never have anyone read them since they are more like my private conversations with him – conversations that never got the opportunity to take place while he was living. But writing them, communicating and channeling my true feelings on paper did help me go through this grief on my own.
    I've finished writing one entire book of them and started a new last year. When I look back on the letters from 2013 (the first year) I can clearly see I was extremely angry and in pain, whereas the ones I wrote in second year are slightly calm in tone, and the ones this year calmer – but they all consistently carry a wave of hurt and despair.
    I hope no one has to go through the loss and grief of a loved one and not be able to talk to someone about it. But if you're hurting and can't speak about it, I suggest you write about it, pour your heart on a paper or a private blog, say whatever you feel in the most open words and tone. It helps release the tension you feel and let you breath. Peace.

    • Alyssa says:

      Your soul mate’s family may appreciate hearing stories of the time you shared. I lost my partner in January and I email his family daily with a small story, most from our past but also others documenting those interactions we share now. We’re all helping each other to cope… Though it’s guaranteed to be a terrible time, it’s a little easier sharing it with his parents, siblings and friends.

      Sending love and healing to you.

  6. Diane Robar says:

    Beautifully written . Thank you. It’s been almost ten years for me … although not like the soul wrenching pain as before, grief still lingers… Something a person who has lost a loved one might want to do is begin a journal of memories. Just take a notebook and start writing short words or sentences about shared adventures, silly little things, sayings, jokes, every and any thing that runs through your mind about the LIFE you shared. Just freeflow write what comes to mind. You think you will remember everything down the road. You won’t. If you write these precious thoughts and memories especially during this first year, you will recall so many of them. The words on the pages will be blurry from the tears that fall as you write them. But later, when you read over the book, you will be glad you took the time to write these words because you will say “Oh, that’s right!!! I remember that!!” Peace

  7. Stephen says:

    Excruciatingly real….almost 4 yrs out…only a thin layer of scar tissue hides this wound.

  8. martina says:

    This has been so very true and I can relate to everything u have written, I lost my partner and soulmate of 12 yrs 7 months ago, he was only 27 and attempted to take his own life, seeing the pain and trauma in hospital will never leave my mind, unfortunately he didn't make it, how u cope I really don't have the answer, does it get easier? I don't know right now, my life will never be the same and I can't forgive myself now, but maybe one day I can. How do u ever love someone else? I miss my baby so much x

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