If You Could Have, You Would Have

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
"Some people never get there, usually because they blame themselves for things they “could have done” but didn’t do, or for things they “should have done” but didn’t do."

Submitted: February 03, 2017

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Submitted: February 03, 2017



We all face losses every once in a while. Some losses are not so significant, like losing a stapler, or saying good bye to your horrible neighbor. Others a little bit harder, like losing that tissue paper with scribbles from your first date, or the award you got for so and so, or photos from years ago. Other losses are horrible, usually revolving around people, losing your spouse to someone else, losing your best friend, your companion, your parent, your child… losing yourself. Waking up one morning with this confused feeling of simply missing who you are…were… Losing the things you achieved, the home you spent hours pouring over furniture magazines to make just perfect, just like home; the job on which you sacrificed your social life, your relationships, your precious time with your children for. The degree which you so looked up to, which meant so much more to you than a piece of paper. It meant things like, you never gave up despite all the obstacles, you were able to juggle twenty things at the same time, you were able to survive on scrapes of cash, to manage days after sleepless nights, to keep going even though you continuously gave up along the way… 

So anyway, loss only means one thing, one thing we all have in common even when our losses are different. Loss means Grief. 

“Grief is a natural response to loss. It's the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief will be.” - Google

Grief is a natural response, and because it is natural, people from all walks of life go through it. It happens in stages or steps, each one of us may spend different amounts of time in each step in different grief situations. 

Denial and Isolation: the first response we get to bad news, it is a defense mechanism and helps us rationalize things slowly.

Anger: reality hits us and fear strikes; we cover our vulnerability with anger. We may direct our anger at the person we are losing or have lost, the bearer of the bad news, or the cosmic order, inanimate objects, friends, or even strangers. We know they are not to be blamed, but we resent the person we are losing for causing us this unbearable pain, so we lash out at whoever or whatever. 

Bargaining: we then move on to the bargaining stage, when we start to seek all sorts and forms of second opinions for our sick loved ones, when we start to ask all our friends on our contact list to pray for healing. When we secretly make a pact with God to take years off our lives and give them to our loved ones. When we light every candle in the church, and go on pilgrimages. When we wake up in the morning hoping that it was all a bad dream, and our son, daughter, father, mother, husband, wife, sister, brother, friend… is in fact soundly sleeping in his bed and he or she did not actually die.

Depression: after all that bargaining, and after realizing we have in fact “lost”, we let the sadness take over. In some cases, this sadness remains private. While we smile and chat and go on with our lives, it lingers inside our chest and comes out in the privacy of night. In other cases, it is more evident where we refuse to leave our bed, we skip pain by skipping days in sleep, we stop eating, we stop talking, we just hibernate… 

Acceptance: Loss is one of life’s toughest hardships. Acceptance is a gift if reached. Some Grief does not see the light past anger or bargaining. Some people get stuck.  Acceptance does not mean you have to be happy, it simply means finding peace with the loss. 

Some people never get there, usually because they blame themselves for things they “could have done” but didn’t do, or for things they “should have done” but didn’t do.

Let me just tell you something, IF you could have, you would have. 

Let me tell you something else. 

It is called, “Survivor’s Guilt”: the feeling someone gets where they feel “the wrong person survived”. It usually happens with people who have survived a traumatic event where everyone died except them. But it also happens in situations where someone loses a loved one to suicide, or perhaps in the case where a parent loses a child. 

If it was meant to be you, it would have been you. If you had the choice, you probably would have chosen to go instead. But you didn’t have a choice. You were chosen to be the one who had to survive. Someone who had to not only survive this trauma, but the pain of loss. The person who has to carry this feeling of “missing” every single day. There must be a reason it’s you. Find it, embrace it. Set yourself free from the guilt, it’s not your fault. Believe it. Because really, IF you could have, you would have. 

© Copyright 2018 sarah sab. All rights reserved.

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