What My Life Would Be Like If I Hadn't Lost You

To heal is to accept the hand I've been given.

Last updated on Jul 22, 2023

girl on beach wondering if i hadn't lost you StockSnap / pixabay via Canva

By Rachel Connell

To think it’s been a year since I lost you.

As much as I clutched onto the idea of things staying constant and as much as I comforted myself with the false pretense that maybe nothing would change without you, things have.

It doesn’t feel like the empty time that’s passed by could possibly be complete without one of your warm hugs or comforting movie nights. But time’s moved on now, and it’s scary to think that I haven’t yet.


To think that many of the people in my life now won’t ever know you and that the photos on my walls won’t ever age, it terrifies me to the core.

A life without you, my mom... It's a strange melancholy, to say the least.

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I’m sure if you were still here, I’d have one less heartbreak. My chest may not feel the sting it does when each holiday rolls around.

I’d have one less teary-eyed relative reach out to me this Thanksgiving with kind words and promises of support. I’d enjoy one additional delicious turkey dinner, and one more moment to stop and breathe in the warm smell of your pumpkin pie baking in the oven.

If you were still here, I’d call you up and gush for hours about a boy who I think could be great for me.

You’d be right there eager to meet him with an entire playbook of embarrassing stories from when I was a kid. You’d caution me to love wholly but slowly and you’d remind me that nobody should ever complete me but myself.


If you were still here, I’d have one less tattoo tracing the edge of my ribs. One less reminder to see the world as good and not for the evil it may feel from your absence.

I’d have one less story to tell, and one less reason to get an uncontrollable lump in my throat while explaining its significance.

If you were still here, the London Knights hockey team would have one more voice cheering them on at every single home game. They’d have one more superfan dancing around in a homemade jersey and you’d have one more girls' night with your friends afterward.

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If you were still here, I’d have a few more letters gracing my mailbox each month. I’d have a pen pal that I could never get rid of, who always seemed to know the right things to say during midterm season.


If you were still here, maybe the changes wouldn’t feel so abrupt.

Maybe I wouldn’t look away the second the conversation turned to chatting about our parents. Maybe the thought of my future would feel less scary because you’d be there to help me through the big moments. And maybe I’d have finally learned how to properly sew or do my taxes.

But if you were still alive, I may not have learned to appreciate you quite as fully for the incredible impact you had.

I may never have viewed my life with such a drive to make you proud and I may never have had a purpose quite as strong as the one you left for me.

To heal is to accept the hand I’ve been given. It’s to stop denying that anything was wrong and to conquer the fear of the change that is inevitable. It’s to let myself feel whatever it is that my body needs to feel.


As much as my heart won’t ever be as full without you, I know that you’re not finished teaching and loving.

I know that I’m not finished growing and becoming. I know that I can never really be alone and that the warmness in your hugs and the quiet commentary from our movie nights will be with me for the rest of my life.

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Rachel Connell is a writer, editor, wedding photographer, and former contributor to Unwritten and Thought Catalog. Her work focuses on relationships, pop culture, and entertainment.