It’s a weird thing, mourning the living. It’s like your brain just can’t quite wrap itself around the process the same way it does when someone passes away. Choosing to walk away from a relationship begins a long, often confusing, process of mourning. Even if you know deep in your heart of hearts that putting space between you and that person was necessary and good, the mourning process that follows is a hard road marked with doubt and second-guessing.

Should I have said that? What if I had just done xyz? Should I have given more time? These questions come haunting. Sometimes in the still quietness of late night. Sometimes in the mindless scrolling through social media. Sometimes in conversations with often well-meaning people who just can’t grasp the depth of the hurt and pain you are going through. Whenever it comes and for whatever reason, it is real. It is raw. It is painful. And it hits from multiple levels.

There is the mourning of knowing you are missing out on the good times because even toxic relationships have good moments.

There is a finality that comes with knowing someone is no longer living. This finality is what makes losing them so hard. But not having that finality? Knowing that the person you are mourning is alive and well and living their life? That is soul-crushing.

RELATED: To the Toxic People of My Past: I No Longer Believe Your Lies

It brings a constant barrage of what-ifs, could have beens, and should I stills. The reminders that they are still out there, that in theory, you could still have the good timesalbeit at the detriment of your own mental healthonly serve to deepen the hurt of loss.

There is a muddled confusion that comes with knowing, on some level, you are the cause of your own pain. Somehow knowing the decision to walk away was and is justified and right does not make the pain any more bearable or any lighter.

There is the mourning of the marring of your reputation. Choosing to walk away from a relationship many people view as necessary brings guilt and shame. Some people will never understand that the path you are on is the only path you could take to protect yourself and your family.

Many people will think you are so, so wrong for not trying harder, not giving more chances, and not forgiving.

But you know the truth deep down. That for every time you tried, you were met with anger. That every chance you gave, a piece of yourself was broken. That you truly have forgiven, but forgiveness doesn’t mean you ignore the truth and continue to let yourself or your family be harmed. Sometimes your reputation must be sacrificed for the sake of protecting those you love most.

There is a deep mourning for the loss of innocence. Of no longer being able to assume the best in people. Of knowing that some people truly do only care about themselves and do not care who they trample in the pursuit of their own happiness. A deep knowing that there is such brokenness and depravity in the world. You come to realize it isn’t always the bad guys who do the most harm. Sometimes it’s your spouse, a sibling, a child, a parentthe list goes on. Sometimes the very people who should love you the most just for who you are, are the very people who systematically tear you apart. Who seem to find joy in ruining you.

RELATED: I’m Walking Away From My Toxic Mother

Learning firsthand that pain and hurt can come from anywhere is jarring. This mourning doesn’t seem as obvious as the others. It happens deep in the recesses of your heart and mind, almost subconsciously. But it is very real and no less painful.

Mourning the living.

It is a hard road to travel filled with confusion and pain. But just know you do not walk this path alone. All around you are people who have felt the same pain and confusion you are feeling. We are here. A silent support system cheering you on. 

And there is a God who sees the depth of your pain and longs to meet you right where you are. So let yourself feel the pain. Mourn the loss fully and deeply. And then let the One who knows you and loves you beyond what you can imagine, comfort and strengthen you as only He can.

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