The Last Next Time: Bittersweet Lessons From Grief

I lost a friend five years ago this week. And I still think about him a lot.

David Bird Cognitive Hypnotherapy Leighton Buzzard, grief

Yet, memories that used to bring happiness and laughter - sometimes those same ones bring sadness now too. And maybe that seems obvious. But it wasn't always that way.

As human beings, we don't always adapt easily to change. Especially sudden change. And I wonder whether the very mechanism that's kept us alive all these years is what can make it hard to accept and let go.

We long for what once brought us joy. To move towards it. Almost compelled in some way. But with loss - like a reality hijack, or neuronal loophole - despite that longing, or urge - every direction, every path - appears a wrong turn.

The way the scent of fine food makes your mouth water enough to book a table there and then. How reminiscing can make you excited to organise a reunion. To re-live. To remember. To feel again. But with loss, we don't complete the cycle.

Because we know we can't.

The endorphin release, pulling us forward, is met with the dissonance of realising there can never be a next time. Only now knowing the last was the very last next time. And so, at times, can follow the trail of what-ifs and regrets.

If only I'd have gone around more often.
If only I'd have made more effort.
If only I'd picked up the phone.

And those what-ifs may just be the mind still trying to solve the unsolvable. To satiate the longing. To fill the gap. Replace the missing.

In some simple way, trying to keep us sane.

Maybe grief is a teacher. To remind us all of how precious life is. Because the next time may well be the last. And how we'd do well to remember that. When we delay a text. Put off returning a call. Cancel plans. Or choose work over a get-together.

Time is special because we can't just buy or make more of it. Nor get it back in any literal sense. So it's times like this that have me remember just how important it is, whenever we can, to make it count.

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