Coping with Outliving a Loved One

We live a life full of privilege and sometimes we never notice to stop and think about what we have. Activities like walking to the market, going to the gym, lighting a candle, and even hugging someone we care about are all privileges we can take for granted. Now that you have felt a little bit guilty about not being grateful for being able to do the things I just mentioned, imagine magnifying that guilt and realizing you have outlived someone you love.

Yes, I said what you have feared to say out loud. Outliving someone is one of the scariest and darkest thoughts I have ever had. For those of you who have not experienced this, to “outlive” someone literally means to live a longer life than they. When I was 5 years old, my uncle (who was 27 at the time) passed away in an unexpected construction accident. We were very close and I miss him dearly. I remember (even as a 5 year old) feeling his unconditional love and happiness whenever we spent time together. Fast forward to today, I am now 27 years old. My brother, who is a few years older than me has “outlived” my uncle. I have “outlived” my uncle. It is a strange and bizarre feeling even saying that word out loud because it feels so final. It feels so cold. Now the question is, how do we deal with those dark thoughts? How do we cope with understanding that our life experience is completely different from the person we have lost?

I don’t have an answer. I don’t think anyone could ever give you a true answer on what it is really like because every life is different. My life is completely different from my uncle’s and I’m sure if you look at the way your life is now – it is different from the one you are thinking about. The most important thing, however, is to know and believe they lived a fulfilled life. You can’t get a time machine (I wish!) and rewind 22 years to make sure nothing bad happens. You have to just have faith. Have faith in the person you once loved on earth and still love in the spiritual terms.

When I was 23 years old I lost my mom in a sudden accident, she was only 49 years old. I have thoughts from time to time wondering how in the world am I going to survive the rest of my life without her? How the hell am I supposed to cope with losing someone so close to me? I also wonder what kind of person will I be when I am 49? There are so many questions and no answers out there that I have searched for. And it’s not exactly a coffee table topic you want to bring up or something to talk about during happy hour. There’s nothing happy about it.

The only thing I could think of is to just appreciate what I have in this life. I have to appreciate the time I had with her on this earth and understand that it was all out of my control. I shouldn’t feel guilty about it because there was nothing I could do about it. The only thing I can do is to move forward and live my best life. I can let go and understand that everything happens for a reason and although it was a time where I hit rock bottom, I grew up to be a stronger human being.

I hope that this has helped somebody out there. As difficult as a topic this is to talk about I know it can be really hard read as well. Maybe to take a step in the right direction think about something or someone you are grateful for today. 🙂

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