Thanks, Facebook Memories, For Reminding Me That Breakups Hurt More Anything

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Why Breakups Can Hurt More Than The Death Of A Loved One

Even more than the death of my own mother.

IMO, mourning the loss of someone who is still alive is arguably worse than mourning the dead. I’ve done both and I can tell you from my experiences that they both suck in their own different ways.

Actually, if I’m being completely honest, I’m not entirely sure which one is worse.

When I speak of mourning the living, I mean the particular type of grief that comes from romantic heartbreak or the loss of a relationship with someone you were extremely close to. This person could have run away, broken up with you, picked up a drug habit or left your life in any number of ways.

Everyone has experienced this on some level — but I'm referring to a far deeper degree of emotional pain.

The only thing I can possibly compare it to is the level of pain I felt when I lost my mother, and in fact, the same relationship that helped me overcome my grief after losing my mother was the relationship that catapulted me into the dark depths of having to grieve both that initial loss and then the loss of my relationship with the man I thought was “my person” simultaneously.

This is what happens.

It hits you out of nowhere. Just when you think you’re finally over it and officially ready to move on with your life ... it stops you in your tracks.

You try desperately to catch your breath, but you just can’t breathe and when your breath does finally return —that’s when the tears start falling.

You ask yourself if maybe you really are crazy. Is there something wrong with you? Why does this still hurt after all this time? When will the sadness finally stop? ... Will it?

Any one of a million things can trigger the pain, in much the same way that happens when a loved one passes away.

A smell. A certain show on TV you enjoyed together. A song that was once "yours."

And of course, those dreaded "Facebook Memories." 

You know, those notifications that ping to show you an “On This Day...” post.

My trigger was a silly little picture of a screenshot from my onscreen cable guide showing me a porn title. Though the memory was from two years ago, I still remember each and every single detail from that night.

The post said, "So just scrolling through the guide, when suddenly ... Buttcheeks Aquiver."

We'd been all out of shows to binge watch and there was nothing on TV that night, so we scrolled all the way to the end of the cable guide looking for something to watch. We came across some porn titles we found hilarious, and we sat around scrolling and laughing at the names of cheesy pornos for a good while.

For some reason, Facebook Memories like this always get to me hard, because they remind me of times when things were good.

When I still had my best friend next to me on the couch — the guy who promised me he wasn’t ever going anywhere, even when my teenage daughter was being a jerk to him for absolutely no reason.

Here's the problem.

Someone can be right for you in every way, they can be exactly who and what you need, but that doesn't necessarily mean you’re right for them.

And boy, is that an awful f*cking reality to have to live with.

What raises this kind of agony to an excruciating level of loss is that you are mourning for someone who made a choice not to be in your life.

They could still be with you if they wanted to, but the fact of the matter is that they don’t — and there is nothing you can do about it.

The dead may be gone forever, but they didn’t choose to leave you (deaths by suicide notwithstanding, of course). They are no longer in this plane of existence, and they would likely contact you if they could.

This is different than that.

There are certain harsh realities that come along with any breakup, especially when you are the one who is left.

You may know that you’re not good for them and they probably feel happier, perhaps even better in every way, without you in their lives. And while that is fucking great for them — we all want what’s best for those we love, right? — it’s goddamned catastrophic for you.

Because the person who is no longer in your life is a living, breathing person you will never see again, and it it's only because that person that doesn’t want to see you.

The positive side of both situations is that at least — at the very, very least — the other person’s pain and suffering end. And for that, you are hopefully grateful.

But yours lives on. 

You know that you f*cked up. You may even be able to pinpoint several of the specific ways in which you f*cked up, but there is nothing you can do now but keep moving forward and hope that one day you’ll feel free again.

All grief sucks, plain and simple.

But I do believe it can be healing to accept that just because the person you are missing is still in the same plane of existence you are, that doesn’t mean your sorrow doesn't deserve the same acknowledgment of your own need to find a way to grieve.