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Throughout our lives, events will happen that we could have never planned, nor dreamt of happening. These are events that we learn are beyond our control and they are the ones that change us forever.

After my 21st birthday, my mother passed away to an illness I couldn’t control or save her from. Her death shook me to the core.

When someone you love passes away, you not only grieve because he or she is no longer physically present in your life, but you also grieve for all the moments you thought he or she would be there to share with you.

Before my mother’s death, I grieved for the loss of her future and the relationship we would have had. After her death, I grieved for the fact that I may not remember her voice one day.

I grieved that I was would have to move on and try to live a life without her. I grieved because despite all my efforts, I had to accept that she was really gone.

There are times after the death of someone you love when suddenly, the realization that she’s gone takes all the strength you have and you fall to your knees and cry. Everything inside of you screams for him or her to be where you are right now.

Nothing in this world is as heavy as the absence of the person you once loved. And sometimes in this absence, we can lose a piece of ourselves; the piece that holds us together. It’s as if who we were when the person was alive died, too.

It has been a few years since my mother passed, and I still get questioned on how I am the person I am today and how I can still get out of bed in the morning without letting her death debilitate me.

The truth is, you don’t have the choice of being strong. You must let go of the person you once loved like nothing else in the world. You have to in order to survive.

Letting go and being strong isn’t a one-time decision either. It’s something you have choose to do every day, over and over again. In time I learned this, and in time, I learned how to live again.

But, by accepting that someone is gone, we learn that a part of us must first die in order to ever move on. We have to let go of what could have been.

We have to accept that we can’t change past experiences, the opinions of others at any given moment or the outcomes of their choices or yours.

We cannot die of grief, though it may feel possible. A heart does not actually break, though sometimes, your chest aches as if it is breaking. The sadness and the ache you thought would always be there begins to fade with time. It’s just how things are.

In life, we won’t always associate this feeling of loss with death. We can be feeling like this when we grieve the loss of an ex or a love you thought would never die. You will still feel as if you will never be yourself again without him or her in your life, but you learn to cope.

As time goes on, we learn that the things we wish would never happen sometimes do. We fall in love with people we never thought we would, and we lose people we never thought would leave.

But, we also find ourselves in places we never dreamed possible; we find ourselves moving on. Just because we lose people physically doesn’t mean we have lose them completely.

And, just because a part of us dies when someone we love passes away doesn’t mean we die completely, too. We come to love ourselves and who the loved one was in a way we couldn’t have possibly done when he or she was alive.

Love is the one thing that will transcend through time. Even as the years go by and the memories fade as you start to create your own memories, you find that the one thing that never dies is the unconditional love you have for that person.

The people you once loved live in the memories of your heart, and that is how you come to remember them.

To anyone who has lost someone, there will be times when you’ll feel your loved one move through you, and it feels as if he or she never really left. When you feel his or her presence, let it be a reminder that death doesn’t mean the end of love. Let the presence remind you that he or she will always be alive, just not how you used to think.

However, there will come a time when you won’t feel the presence anymore, and it will feel as if he or she is really gone. And, that’s okay, too. Though this can feel bittersweet, let it be a reminder that he or she is letting you go now to live your life.

You will find that there is not much quality of life found in living in your loved one’s shadow.

Just as much as you need to let go and live again after his or her death, he or she will too let go of you and allow you to be free again.

Alexandra Bannon

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