Many people who come along to our bereavement support groups speak about experiencing feelings of longing for the special bond they had with their loved one who passed away. Even if we find ourselves managing to make new friendships or maintain old ones, the absence of the person who died can continue to feel just as raw and present as ever. It’s important to remember that a relationship does not necessarily end because the person is not physically around – the relationship, and your love for that person, very much continues.
Having had an irreplaceable and special bond with someone, it is not unusual to find yourself trying to maintain that bond in different ways. Some people talk about continuing to have conversations with their loved ones in their mind, or aloud. Some people find themselves continuing to do things, or starting to do new things, that their loved one enjoyed so as to feel closer to them.
Another way to feel close to our loved ones is to talk to others about them. The need to be honest about grief, and talking candidly, can be a very cathartic and beneficial experience, but can often feel like it’s breaking social norms in a way. We can often fear that people do not want to hear about our feelings or our memories. However, talking helps – even if it brings difficult feelings. By shying away from difficult conversations, you may be taking away the opportunity to help yourself.
People often report feeling relieved when they can talk openly about their grief, which is why going along to a support group and being with others who have experienced something similar can create a feeling of togetherness and empowerment.
Maybe there is a way you can talk about your loved one with a friend, not only your feelings about them no longer being here but also about all you gained from knowing and loving them. Is there somebody you could reach out to today?