The What-Ifs, Have-Nots and Never-Wills

Photo by Javardh on Unsplash

At his memorial service, I wanted to leave those that had come to honor his life, with words that would resonate and offer guidance on how to move forward in a world without him. 

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.” 

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

As the sound of those words traveled past my lips that day, I was living in the not-at-all and was suffering in the remnants of a life I had almost reached but couldn’t seem to grab hold of.  Truth be told, it was impossible to follow those words of advice. When I look back, my inner hero perished that year. The glimmer of a future was not within my scope of view. My fire had essentially gone out. It wasn’t until years later when I would find my spark again. 
Personally, having lived through grief for years now, the shadow of the what-ifs, have-nots and never-wills is always lurking. This holds true for loss of any relationship.  There are the obvious triggers for these thoughts like anniversaries, birthdays and holidays. But then there are those everyday moments that hit like a blindside and sting long enough to leave an ache. People that haven’t lost, don’t understand this. 
Most recently, I found myself in the dark shadow of these frustrations after a series of relationships had failed and loneliness set in. I was once again reminded of the not-at-all. As we journey forward in grief we swing like a pendulum back and forth between attempts to build a new life we desire and a life that never will be with moments that may have been different if…

All the while, constantly questioning, “Is this what I deserve?”

It has been almost four years now.  

Perhaps you’ll find solace knowing that these days, I do carry the hope that this life I long for is possible or maybe you’ll simply find relief knowing you are not alone. I’m right there with you.

~Kim Libertini, Co-founder of Goodgrief App 

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