Your new life is going to cost you your old one. Brianna Wiest
Death can upend our lives. We lose the physical connection to our beloved, the time we spent together, the activities we engaged in, the inside jokes, the shared memories, the feeling of being known and understood. It’s the cost of being human, of being vulnerable, of take a chance and loving another person. We might not know when or where or how the deal will get broken, but we know it’s part of the bargain. We don’t say, “I never thought either of us was going to die.” We say, “I never thought it would be this soon, this way, this wrenching, this unexpected, this horrifying, this hard.” But no matter how much we deny it or avoid thinking about it, we know the day will come when the piper has to be paid.
What I didn’t know was how much else loss was going to cost me. Part of my identity, part of my place in the world, part of my future, some of my relationships. The life that I had built so carefully didn’t fit any more. It was constructed for the person that I no longer was. In some ways, it was too big. In others, it was too small. Parts were ripped away against my will, and others were too heavy to carry any more.
I lost my sense of direction, my clarity, my conviction about what mattered and what didn’t. About who mattered and who didn’t. It was no longer enough to be good at something; I had to have a reason to do it. As desperately as I wanted to stay safe, protected, even unseen, loss cost me my comfort zone. My willingness to coast, to tolerate, to put up with.
But the tearing down and letting go offer their own rewards. There are people who were meant for me in the life after, many of whom I might never have met otherwise. There were bonds to be built, connections to be made, love to be shared that wouldn’t have happened in that old life. A way of seeing and being seen that wasn’t possible before.
The world keeps turning after loss. Time and people move on. We can get left behind, lost in the old world and struggling to find the new one. Sometimes what moves us forward can be small or simple — a single pink rose shimmering in the sunlight, a purple red sunset, the smell of gardenias, the stars dancing in the night sky, an unexpected card from a treasured friend, the notes of a memory evoking song, a well-timed hug. Reminders that life is for the living. That it’s still worth the price of admission. That the cost may be steep but the payoff can be extraordinary. That you can still be loved fiercely, deeply, dearly, even after a devastating loss. That you can be known, seen, carried and comforted. That although there is no going back to what once was, you can still hang on tightly to the loved one you’ve lost, even as you move forward and rejoin the dance.