Mourning the Loss of What Could Have Been


Something didn’t happen to you. It could have been a mother’s warm embrace that never happened because she was too busy drinking. A marriage that didn’t have a “happily ever after” because it is now ending. A child that was still born instead of being vibrant and healthy. A friend that was not there for you when you needed them the most, leaving you without support.

You lost something, and your hopes and dreams about what could have been are now gone. Any one of these situations and many more are reasons to be hurt and angry. The things that didn’t happen but should have, are worth mourning. It is a loss and, like a death, it must be mourned so that you are able to move through the pain and eventually come out the other side stronger. It may be difficult to understand or accept that something should have happened, but didn’t. To dismiss those feelings like so many of us do, however, is much worse. Worse because those underlying, buried feelings are still there and now you will be acting out of hurt instead of acting out of healing. It’s a problem, yes, but what do you do?

  • Journal. It is impossible to let your mind wander around these old hurts and heal yourself, so putting them out onto paper can be the best way for your mind to outline the circumstances logically, and in doing so, close the gaps in the story. This can give you the ability to truly let it go.
  • Talk to someone who gets it. It should be someone who has gone through this journey before, a therapist maybe. It must be someone who knows this delicate journey, because if they haven’t gone through it themselves, it is easy to steer you back into the pain.
  • Self-Care! Read our blog here to learn more about self-care. This is crucial because mourning is a very exhausting journey, and one must give back to themselves in order to remain present in their lives. It is too easy to become overwhelmed, exhausted, and just stay there. If you take care of yourself, it is much more likely that you will not quit and you will emerge on the other end. Isn’t that the point?
  • Read related materials. There are a lot of books on grief and loss. Just because you didn’t experience a death (or maybe you did), doesn’t mean the process is any less painful. Reading materials can help you learn about the typical journey.
  • Remember: it’s not about forgetting! Forgetting the journey you went through is not what needs to happen. It’s about learning how to cry in the middle loss, learning what you can from it, and then, when you are ready, helping others through their own mourning process.
  • Pay it forward. There is a reason we go through the terrible things of life. You went through it, you were brave enough to look at it head on and call it out of the darkness, and now you can help others like you who don’t know the steps. Can you imagine a world where more people helped each other like that? I can, and it’s beautiful!


Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think by commenting.

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