Grief in the ‘What if.’

Sometimes, it’s difficult to put into words the thoughts that linger in our minds, the ones that play the “what if” game. It’s a game that can consume us, as we ponder the countless possibilities and wonder about the actions we could have taken differently.

What if… I had extended our conversation by just two more minutes.

What if… I had prepared dinner earlier that evening, preventing him from going out.

What if… I had gone for my test as planned, allowing us to talk for a longer time.

What if… we had never crossed paths… Could it be that his death was somehow linked to our meeting?

The pursuit of finding the myriad of things we could have changed to prevent the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming. But it’s crucial to understand that their passing occurred because it was their time. We must cherish the moments we shared, appreciating the memories—both the good and the not-so-good. In my personal experience of grieving, the painful memories held their own significance, as they served to illuminate the beauty of the happier ones.

No matter how fervently we try to rewrite the ending in our minds, it will not bring them back or alter the outcome. Accepting this truth is a piece of the healing process and I hate it.

They may not be physically present as they once were, and that reality is undeniably difficult for those of us left behind. However, I believe that they continue to love us. I believe they can perceive everything that was and everything that will be, and they cheer us on with every positive step we take.

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