Throw a dart on the map and go there. Take a bath. Get a hobby. Go to church, again.
These are all words of advice that I received while dealing with the loss of my significant other. Five years later, I can say that healing doesn’t magically happen if we just follow the advice bestowed upon us, or heed the words of Eat, Pray, Love.
Healing isn’t something that you can force through a yoga retreat, a trip abroad, or a long walk on the beach. These are all pleasant things, but true healing comes from within and it isn’t pretty.
The road to healing never ends. Every time we think that we are getting somewhere, there will be something that knocks us back into the pits of disaster.
After one short year, I was asked why I was still talking about my grief, and I was told several times to move on.
“You’ll finally get out of the victim role you have been playing,” a text read on my 28th birthday, four years after my tragic loss. The message stung my eyes.
Being in my 20s and facing the substantial loss of my significant other meant being around people who did not understand, because their young lives hadn’t taken them there yet. I was called selfish for merely talking about my grief while I was struggling to comprehend something bigger than myself.
Healing isn’t a victim mentality. But here’s a few things that it is:
Healing is going through life having to carry the unfortunate baggage of something that doesn’t resonate with anyone around you.
Healing is still going to your job even though you know your co-workers are planning their next party, and you are planning a memorial.
Healing is watching the world continue to spin, and realizing that you aren’t totally alone in it—even when you most definitely feel that way.
Healing is waking up everyday and finding little reminders of a life that seemed so long ago. It’s not moving your home despite everyone thinking that’s what you should do.
Healing is dealing with negativity from friends, because they’re no longer your priority.
Healing is when your priority becomes your life and you do everything you can to continue with it.
Healing is internal and external at the same time. It’s deciding not to smile for the sake of others just because it puts them at ease, and deciding to go instead with the genuine emotions that ensue. It’s knowing that you will leave people behind because of it. It’s dealing with these losses as little deaths, as if the one major one wasn’t enough.
Healing is realizing that this loss somehow, undeniably, becomes about you and your existence.
Healing is having way too much to drink, and sometimes nothing at all.
Healing is raw and unhinged. It’s ongoing, and it slowly becomes a distant memory rather than a constant loss of control.
I always wished I could pick up everything and just leave my life behind. I know people that have done it, and I was always told that you still have to take yourself with you.
No matter what the set of your life looks like, you still have to face you. This is healing.
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