Grieving When They’re Not Gone…

But might as well be.

I haven’t posted in a very long time. Life has been busy and quite roller coastery for me. I have found stable employment. I’m seeing a therapist. I’m on meds for the depression and anxiety. I’m making new friends and expanding my support system. I’m focusing on weight loss and my health. But on the flip side of the coin I’ve experienced the losses of people I cared greatly about. My child’s father died unexpectedly in January. I lost two aunts in one week. A dear friend passed away. This calendar year has been quite a doozy.

The deaths of people I care about are always hard, but there is a finality there. You know why that door is closed. There is a clear and defined reason to grieve.

My therapist and I have been working at getting to the root of my depression. We’re exploring my lack of self-esteem and the hurt that has festered beneath it. She makes me pick apart the hurtful relationships that have combined with the chemical imbalance and have made so much of my life a living hell.

There are some people who hurt me intentionally, knowing what they were doing and never apologized. I can think of two right now who set out to do that and came to close to damaging my faith because they were in the ministry with me. Truth be told, they with their deliberate actions caused me to leave the ministry. They’ve both passed away now without apologies for their actions but they inadvertently helped me learn to forgive when apology is never offered. Those doors are closed and their actions are theirs to answer for.

But what about people who aren’t dead but turned their back on you in your hour of need? When you said, “I need help. I need you,” they simply didn’t give a damn. Loved ones who simply didn’t love you enough to respond, care, or be there for you, but acted like they were wonderful to the rest of the world. How do you handle that?

I’ve been told to grieve the loss. It’s hard. The most painful hurt for me is someone in my family that I always loved and looked up to. When things went crazy, they were the one I would talk to, vent to, laugh at the absurdity of it all with them. Two years ago when the depression had returned and was just beginning to build up, I started seeing my pastor for counseling. My pastor said to reach out to them. Let them know that their support and our relationship was important and necessary for me. I did that. I sent them a message of Facebook telling them I needed them. No response. I’ve had two years of radio silence. I’ve received four words from them in two years. Two insincere birthday wishes on my Facebook wall. No recognition of familial love or caring. I don’t want those stupid two word wishes that they put on the wall of every person on their friends list.

How do I grieve this? I try not to be angry because they apparently don’t care how I feel about them anyway. I don’t want to be angry. I don’t want to be hurt. I am though. I remember when I was able to count on them. I know that even if they called me right now the relationship that we once had is destroyed. I may try to treat it like nothing is different but the memory of the hurt, of their emotional desertion when I needed them most will always be there. They aren’t dead but the relationship has been destroyed completely by the turning of their back. Seriously, how do I grieve that without anger?

I’m far from perfect. I will freely admit it. In fact, there are times when I accept blame that isn’t mine, but this is one time where I truly am not the one at fault. So how do I let go of the pain that has been caused by something I haven’t done? I refuse to be bitter but I can’t help feeling the pain of their rejection. I was told to take down any pictures of them I have in my house; to remove the reminders of them. Done. But the memories of good times and the hurts of their actions are always under my skin and in my heart. I can only try. I can forgive them but I can never trust them again like I once did. I’m trying so hard to let this go but I just don’t know how. How do I convince myself that that door is closed as effectively as if they died?

I don’t know how, but I’m going to try. Yoda is wrong in this situation. There is no do or do not for me right now.

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