Grief is hard in its own right. But it seems we can come to terms with loss a bit easier when it has a natural ending. And this is much harder when a loss happens even before we get to fully realize its potential.
To be sure, some things we look forward to being done with. This might be a job, a toxic relationship, or a particularly difficult season of life. And generally this eagerness stems from things simply running their course and clearly time to come to an end.
At other times, we’re not looking forward to an ending, but It’s still clear the time has come. For instance, this might be the death of loved ones as they advance in years. We don’t want them to die, but we know they’ve lived a full life. And it doesn’t catch us by surprise when their time comes, though we still grieve.
A grief that becomes particularly hard to process is that of lost potential – losing something even before experiencing its fullness. For example, this might be an injury that ends a promising career, a breakup due to external circumstances, or death of a loved one in the prime of life.
This grief is hard because we’re navigating multiple losses at the same time – the object of our affection, as well as all of our hopes, dreams, and aspirations. And because there was not a natural ending, years after the initial loss, part of us still wonders…what if.
Of course, this is understandable and we should find ways to honor this grief. All the same, our healing requires us to accept what is and not what could’ve been. This is not fair, but we must still meet reality on its terms and not ours.
In the end, weep and yell when you experience the heartache of lost potential. And allow your soul the grace and space it needs to still come to terms with what is. This is the path of healing and peace.