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  • Natalie Adams

No, Your Loved One Can't be Replaced

"The people you love and lose will never be replaced, but that doesn't mean that you can't meet and love new people."

Four grieving teenagers stare at the skyline as the sun sets.

When I first started grieving, I knew almost nothing about grief. My dad had been gone for only 24 hours, and someone suggested that I look up the five stages of grief so I had some idea of what was coming. I got on Google, and proceeded to learn about the five stages of grief, what I "should" have been feeling, and a lot more about grief.

Looking back, a lot of the information I got was from reliable sources. Doctors, other experts, and people who had grieved and were writing about their experiences online. But, there were also people talking about grief that just didn't seem to get it.

Whenever I read about grief online, I often see variations on the following comments:

"Someone else will love you."

"You can always get another friend."

"They aren't the only person you'll love."

At first, when I read these things, I was confused. So I'll just... get over my dad's death? I'll find someone who loves me exactly like him and not miss him anymore? It seemed a bit suspicious and inaccurate to me, and to this day I still believe that it's inaccurate.

I didn't get these comments in my daily life, which I'm guessing is partially because of the people I surround myself with, but that doesn't mean that seeing comments like that still don't hurt and confuse me. It was confusing to me then, at the beginning of my grief, and still to this day, how someone could expect me to just move on from my dad's death and replace him with someone else. So, here's my variation on those comments, and I've turned them into something a little more accurate.

"Someone else will love you."

Yes. I have had so many people love me before my dad's death and since. It's not the same though. I've had people, mostly teachers, that I've considered like a father figure in my life. There was a teacher who lost his mom when he was around my age, and he was amazing after my dad died. He checked in on me, asked my friends how I was doing occasionally, and spoke to my whole class about what to say and what not to say. Just because I though he was similar to a father figure, though, doesn't mean that he replaced my dad and that I suddenly was over my grief.

When I first realized that this teacher was like a father figure in my life, during the year that I had his class, I actually had a hard time with it at first. I felt like I was betraying my dad by thinking that of someone. But, just because I thought that didn't mean that I was over my dad's death or that I didn't miss him. Yes, my teacher was amazing, but he didn't even come close to the way I felt about my dad. I know that that'll be the same with the rest of the people who come in my life and fill that role.

Other people will love you. They won't replace your loved one, though. It's okay to fall in love or meet another best friend who you love. It just won't be the same because everyone has a different type of love that they give.

"You can always get another friend."

This is similar to the first comment. It's true that you'll get many more friends, but each friendship is different, and that's okay. When you meet new friends, you may become close with them and develop a great relationship, but they will not replace a friend you lost.

Losing a friend seems to be something that many people don't understand. Yes, unlike a parent or close family member, you don't just have a set number of them (Like how you have 2 parents.), but that doesn't mean that they aren't important and memorable. All people are different, and no friendship is exactly the same. Just because people who haven't lost a friend don't understand that doesn't mean that it isn't true.

When you lose a friend, you may have a hard time making new friends because you don't want to replace the friend you lost. It may take you some time to realize this, but it's okay to make new friends and relationships. By meeting new people and creating relationships you aren't replacing your friend. Everyone you meet is different, and the new friendships you create will be good, but different from the friend that you lost (which doesn't mean that they won't be as good).

"They aren't the only person you'll love."

You may hear this comment a lot, especially if you've lost a significant other. Like the other comments, this comment is true... except for when it's used to explain why you shouldn't grieve or should get over grief.

During your life, you will love so many people. Whether they're family, friends, or anyone you know, you'll love so many of them. But, just because you love other people doesn't mean that you replace the people you've loved before. If you fall in love again or love another person in your life, you aren't replacing the person you lost. You're just loving another person. You still are able to love the person you lost, and can create new relationships around that.

No, they can't be replaced.

Contrary to what many people believe, no, they can't be replaced. The people you love and lose will never be replaced, but that doesn't mean that you can't meet and love new people. No matter what people around you may think, you don't replace the people you've lost when you create new friendships and relationships. Everyone you have lost will always be important, and you'll never lose that.

It's okay to take time after you lose someone before you start creating new relationships. But, that shouldn't keep you from ever meeting new people. Meeting new people isn't a betrayal to your loved one, and you aren't replacing them. It's okay to still love even though you've lost the person you loved.


Written by Natalie Adams, the creator of Teenage Grief Sucks.

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