Recently I have known a number of people who lost loved ones through unforeseen circumstances and this has had me contemplating just how can you get over this tremendous loss and move on with your life? Only a few days ago a friend of mine passed away in his sleep, he was 46 years old, a father of 4 young kids married to an awesome girl who I have also known for a long time. He died very unexpectedly in his sleep and his death was a great shock to his family and friends. As I thought about his wife and family and the tremendous loss they must be feeling, I was struck by the question, “How the fuck can you recover from something so devastating as losing someone you love?”, “How do you get up everyday and face the world when it is so dramatically changed by the loss of that person?”

The more I have contemplated this and the more I have spoken to different people about it I have come up with a few thoughts that I hope might help people that are in this very situation. What I have come to realise is that you never really get over the loss of a loved one, but you do learn to move on with your life while still keeping the memory and the time you spent with that person as a beautiful part of your life. I had a coffee with someone only a couple of days ago that lost their partner very recently and we discussed this at length. I talked to this person about honouring the memory of their partner by living the fullest and happiest life they possible can in their memory. I acknowledge that this is an extremely difficult situation and one I have not experienced first hand, but I have seen a lot of death as a police officer and had a number of friends die in the past couple of years who I was at varying degrees of closeness with at the times of their deaths. Most of them I hadn’t had an extremely close relationship with in recent years but at some point we were really close friends.

If you have been through a tragic loss then you have the choice to make about how it affects the rest of your life. You can let it destroy you for the rest of your life, and that would be totally understandable, the other option you have is to use it as motivation to live the best life you possibly can as a way of honouring the loved one who has gone. I am sure if you could have one final conversation with the person you lost I am absolutely positive they would tell you to move on with your life and live a full and happy life that would make them proud, they would want you to be happy and be a shining example of how loss in your life can strengthen your resolve to live with passion and drive. I highly doubt they would want you to wallow in your grief and be miserable for the rest of your life, I imagine they would want anything but that. They obviously loved you and were close to you or this situation wouldn’t be so upsetting and impactful on you, so therefore by virtue of that love and connection they would absolutely want you to move on and be the happy, fulfilled and vibrant version of you.

None of this means you forget that person, nor does it mean you are leaving them behind, you take their memory with you always and think about them often and honour them by living your life to its fullest just as they would want you to.