Grief is messy and heavy on its own. Add that it’s the death of an ex and those feelings become even more complicated—regardless of how the relationship ended. It can stir up a slew of emotions you didn’t expect and leave you feeling extremely heartbroken all over again. The experience could be extremely isolating, which is why we want to provide you with some ways to move forward.
At Mend, we’re committed to never telling you to move on, and this goes for grieving an ex as well. Love isn’t something that dies with the body, it’s an emotion that lives on within us.
One of the most important things to remember when grieving a loved one is to acknowledge your feelings and remember that it’s ok to love that person even if you didn’t love all parts of them. David Kessler, grief expert and author of “On Grief and Grieving,” told Refinery29, “All those negative feelings you had about the breakup were about the person's behavior, and they don't minimize the things you did love about them." You don’t have to feel shame for grieving someone who broke your heart.
Now that you can accept your grief, it’s important to find ways to cope with the emotions that come with it. You have to take action to seek out a support system. A common problem that people grieving exes face is that no one expects that they’ll be impacted by their ex’s death, so others don’t reach out with condolences and kind words the same way they would if you were currently dating. This is when you might start feeling isolated. Instead, Missy Wilkinson, who wrote about this kind of grief for HelloGiggles , suggests reaching out to mutual friends you shared with this ex in order to find comfort in conversation with them. These people knew the special relationship the two of you shared and will be more likely to understand your grief. You should never have to sit alone with these overwhelming emotions.
One aspect of your ex’s death that gets complicated is navigating the events afterward, like the wake and funeral. You’re probably questioning over and over again whether you should show up, if you’ll be welcomed by their family, or if it’ll be awkward for whoever they were last with. Your decision on this has to come from your gut. You aren’t forced to show up or not, but whatever choice you make has to feel right for you. Don't let any outside judgment or opinions influence what you feel you need to do. Do what honors your grief.
We want to leave you off with a video that paints a more beautiful picture of what we can do with grief. Remember, the love doesn’t die because your ex passed away, and using that love as a force for good, instead of caving to the notion that you should move on, will do much better not only for your world but everyone else that that love ends up touching.