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If Your Loss Changed Your Sense of Self

Your life was so entwined with your loved one as to be one. Many or even most thoughts included your loved one. Even the things you did independently were done with your loved one’s presence if not foremost in mind, then nearby and this is especially true for those who lose their life long partner as well as us parents who have lost a child.  Your loved one’s absence is everywhere you look.

You do not know who you are without them. You cannot imagine the self without your loved one, much less a future without them. This ignites intense feelings of helplessness, of being a small rudderless boat lost upon a vast sea with no oars by which to navigate. 

Here’s what you cannot see yet as grief continues to flow into the absence writ so large and all consuming: Your loss will change you at your core. Eventually, rather than perceive a diminished self, it will grow you in unexpected ways. Grief is always a shapeshifter. This different person is already emerging as you encounter the new world day by day, month after month and year after year.  One day you will discover the most meaningful and essential you is still very much here, only… more so.  Grief is gifting you a previously unknown depth of knowing, understanding and sympathy and this expansive intelligence serves as an elixir to a new sense of self.

There will come a time when mirrors will astonish you; you will be looking at a changed self. The sails will have dropped, a strong wind has filled them, and you find yourself flying over the waters to a new horizon.