Widowhood, divorce, separation; friend moving to another continent; son or daughter leaving home; giving a child up for adoption; or moving house? All can involve us in letting go of someone we love, and it's going to hurt!
When we love, we become attached to another person. We create a space in our lives that is reserved for them, and they fulfill a role for us that we come to rely on. We may come to depend on them in ways that we don't even realize. When they are no longer there we feel the gap that they leave behind.
But separation is going to be a part of every relationship we ever have. No matter how long we live we all face the inevitable separation of death. So letting go of someone, no matter how premature it may be, is something we should all be aware of throughout any relationship. No, I'm not talking about becoming insecure neurotically dependent and clingy wrecks in our relationships. I'm talking about understanding the true value of every relationship that we ever have, enjoying it, developing it fully, and valuing every aspect of it. See the other person in the relationship. Understand their hopes, dreams, pressures, health, and most importantly, their attitude to death.
The pain of separation is eased considerably when we can see the reasons behind it, the future for both, and the value of what we had while it lasted. Letting a relationship go, on a physical level, becomes easier to bear if we can hold onto the inner emotional, mental and spiritual pleasures that we have been able to share together. It can help us face life without the person we have separated from if we know that they have taken with them the very best memories of our relationship.
But no matter how "adult" we may be, we need to express our sadness, grief and regret. We have a hole in our lives, and it can be unbearably painful. We may need outside help from a counselor, priest, family member or friend to help us to work through our feelings of abandonment, grief and guilt, before we can accept their loss. Remember, these feelings are natural. Cry if you want to cry, talk if you want to talk, laugh if it helps. Even the awful feelings of wanting revenge, hatred, jealousy are natural. Don't let them destroy you, or the love you once shared. Deal with them, get help, but know that they are part of process of accepting your loss.
Letting go of someone you love will hurt. It will take time for you to deal with it. Give it time. Give yourself a lot of extra care and attention. Get help, if you need it. But most importantly, understand that you will survive it if you face it. Celebrate the relationships that you hold dear to you, enjoy them whilst you may, and live in the knowledge that sharing love is one of the most precious gifts we have.