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

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



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anonymous Nov 25, 2015 10:56pm

thank you

anonymous Nov 25, 2015 7:00pm

It’s been 4 years now, and I still can’t seem to manage the forgiveness part, but I am trying.

anonymous Nov 10, 2015 9:18am

Thank you for expressing this. I am on month 10 🙂

anonymous Nov 9, 2015 5:52pm

It’s 3 yrs and 9 months since my husband died, he went to work and never came home, it would have been his 50th birthday a couple of days ago. This article just brought back every one of those feelings of shock, trauma, despair…… and all the rest of the emotional turmoil that comes with losing half or yourself. You don’t just lose your soulmate you lose your future. Yes you get a future but it’s not the one you planned with them. I actually found the second year worse than the first. I think I was in deep shock for the first year which damped down the reality a little while the second year was absolute torture with many, many days of not wanting to be here. I still talk to him, still ask him stuff, still look for little messages from him which he still leaves me. I have moved on and have a new partner which is still a surprise to me as I never expected to be in another relationship, but nothing will ever reduce or replace what I felt for my husband.

anonymous Oct 17, 2015 9:58pm

What if you realized that despite the never ending want for them to be your soul mate you reach the agonizing conclusion that you MUST go because you are never enough. And so after many years of heart filled promises it is taking your soul away just to be with them…so you leave…then they kill themselves…there are no people who want to hear your story or tell you theirs…you only learn that life must go on in solitary grief. For no one wants to know how a widow like this feels. Nor does she because it will always and only ever be something she could've done differently. Maybe he would still be here to kiss our children goodnight.

anonymous Oct 1, 2015 3:40pm

My husband of 10 years died on June 21. 2015 after a 4 year battle with cancer. I died that day as well. It has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through and continue to go through. I will never be the same. I want to be where he is, most days I think I cannot do this one more day. One more day of being alone and lonely. One more day of not having someone to share my day..my night with. I can no longer hold him or kiss him. My heart is absolutely broken. I have told everyone that no matter how much you talk about it, no matter how much you try and plan for it..nothing, NOTHING will ever prepare for the loss.

    anonymous Nov 13, 2015 3:27pm

    My mother died that same day, suddenly and unexpectedly. I am broken.

anonymous Sep 8, 2015 9:45am

This applies when the loss isn’t due to death as well. I have struggled for 19 months since my husband left and rven though he isn’t dead, he is gone and many of these closure activities are important in closing that book. After reading this, I realized that I need to have a ceremonial burial of who he was in my life so I can celebrate what was and move on in the current state of the world.

    anonymous Sep 8, 2015 10:33pm

    Wow..Reading your story resonated in my heart deeply.I lost my soul mate 2 years ago through divorce.I agree wholeheartedly that this type of loss is indeed death in its own right.There are no words to describe a loss without any closure or peace.I have continued to mourn the separation of our 20 year love affair daily even into the 2nd year and find myself communicating with him in spirit as if he were deceased.I'm not sure if there truly is a proper way to grieve.Do what makes your inner self at ease.I revisit places that were sacred to us and our Children and in the moments we are together and alive in love.I wish each and everyone of You the greatest peace and healing! There is comfort in knowing our Love is entwined eternally and one glorious day we will walk hand in hand…Free from this Consuming Soul Pain! <3~<3

anonymous Sep 7, 2015 11:54pm

So, I am not sure how this will go over. My soulmate and fiance died in my arms of cancer (he was 28 and I was 24) 24 years ago. My path was very unique.. A few months before he died, my fiance told a friend of ours to "take care of me". I didn't know this until later. I ended up marrying the friend.

Here I am now. 20 years married. Three beautiful daughters aged 19, 17 and 15. I will never forget my fiance who passed away. I still wear two engagement rings. My husband honors this. I still meet my fiancee's family on the anniversary on his death… every year.

Your post is right on. I try to explain that first year to my girls… I cannot. My fiance's mother cares for my daughters. Interesting since my husbands parents died before we met.

I guess the point of my post is that you are right on. I want people to know that you can keep going. But , although my life is very full, you never get over it.

Each of us heal differently. Don't ever let anyone tell you that the direction of the rest of your life takes away from what you had. It does not.

anonymous Sep 7, 2015 8:47pm

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings in this article. I am sorry for your loss. I can relate on so many levels and lost my soul mate, unexpectedly in December 2012 as well. Namaste,

anonymous Sep 7, 2015 6:47pm

Ohhhh dear God
I lost my father 5 years ago actually can’t believe it 5 years already I feel it was just yesterday God i miss him so much he was jus 50 years old. Was never sick he just collaps in one day and I wasn’t there i was in another country. At the funeral I couldn’t saw him dead I couldn’t look inside the coffin. I do not regret that yet.i wonder am I going to regret that in one day?! Don’t think so in my mind i see him smile kissing me too say goodbye from my when he went in to another country this is my last image with him. After 7 days he was dead. I hat a rough time we all had all family and friends he was a very good man.
Even now I think he is somewhere but not dead not for my he will be always alive here…in my heart forever and ever
Love you Daddy wherever You are hope we meet one day❤️

    anonymous Jan 2, 2016 2:46pm

    Claudia….you sound so much like me. I just lost my dad less than 3 weeks ago.He was 85 though but had never been sick. Went in the hospital and his lung had collapsed. Before I could even get there and I only live 15 min away they had already cut a hole in his chest to reinflate it. I had never seen my dad look like this and he had never been in the hospital before. There was something telling me he would never come home. They transferred him to a bigger hospital and he lasted another 9 days. We lost him 11 days before Christmas. I could not look at him in te casket either. I dont want to remember him there. My mom has dementia and she hasnt really even had a grieving process because she doesnt totally understand. The last thing my dad said to me was take care of mom so I have been staying there with her at the house making sure she is ok. I have never felt such pain in my life.

anonymous Sep 7, 2015 6:16pm

That was truly beautiful – a balm for the heart and a lesson for helping those who walk that path. I was in tears. Thank you so much for your brave sharing.

anonymous Sep 7, 2015 5:59pm

Thinks is a beautiful explanation of the grieving process, but for me, the second year was the hardest. it was then that the initial shock had worn off and the finality of death had to be faced. Letting go is the most difficult task we face and yet the most transforming.

anonymous Jul 9, 2015 6:05am

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

anonymous Jul 8, 2015 9:55am

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

anonymous Jul 8, 2015 9:52am

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

anonymous Jul 8, 2015 1:57am

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.

    anonymous Jul 8, 2015 5:37pm

    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.

anonymous Jul 8, 2015 1:37am

This is truly beautiful Thank you.

anonymous May 5, 2015 7:30pm

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.

anonymous Mar 14, 2015 10:45am

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.

anonymous Mar 14, 2015 1:52am

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.

    anonymous Jul 8, 2015 12:07am

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