Divorce, break-ups, broken friendships or geography (moving away) can cause separation pain - grief that comes with its unique characteristics, because the ones you are grieving are still alive. It's not easier or harder to lose someone who has died, it's just different. Both experiences can be painful and require a strong capacity for self-love to survive. The good news is that self-love is life-skill, which can be practiced and refined, to help you come through the other side of grief, healed and evolved.
Firstly, do not try to skip grief, it is not something you can bi-pass without repercussions. It is something to be experienced fully, and then let go of when processed. Going around it will only create pain in your physical body, blocks in your emotional body and distortions in your thinking... you must grieve to be able to love again, and to live a healthy life.
Grieving the loss of someone who is alive can be tricky. It is difficult to know this person, who still walks the earth, with whom you once had and intimate or close relationship, is now moving about without you. It's even trickier to handle these feelings of loss, or moments of missing this person, when it was you who set the boundaries, asked for the divorce or moved away. It seems wrong to miss someone and at the same time choose to keep them out of your life. Perhaps the relationship was unhealthy, perhaps you moved onto someone or something that was better for you, perhaps you expected them to be someone different, perhaps they moved on. This change of relationship is confusing and requires time to adapt. It requires acceptance, patience and most of all gratitude and appreciation for what is right now.
If you are grieving someone who is still alive, here are some tips for supporting yourself through the process:
Accept your feelings as they are, don't judge yourself for having sadness or anger or missing someone. But, be conscious of your thoughts attached to these feelings. Are you ruminating? Are you living in the past?
Practice gratitude and appreciation. Send the one you grieve love (in your mind). Recall the fond memories you have with this person and be grateful for the experience you had and for how it shaped you as a person today.
Appreciate the place where you are now and appreciate the current experience of the one you are grieving. People come into your life, and out of your life - for reasons and seasons. Know this is a natural process, a part of growth and evolution. Nobody is wrong for this change, everyone is human.
Allow yourself to get excited about the ones you are with now and for your future. Know that the one you are grieving, contributed to your current self. They helped to equip you for the greatness that is yet to come. Thank them, regardless of their flaws and any hurt that may still exist between you, for contributing to the lessons you have learned.
Remember them, but don't give yourself to them physically. Be present, so your body can have the experiences of now. Pay attention to who is with you now and to the opportunities and options available to you now. Let your mind make new memories as you move through every moment of each day that unfolds in front of you now.
Speak kindly of the people from your past, your words affect your mind and will attract more of the goodness into your current relationships with self and others.
Remember that your life is a story - you hold the pen. Your past is an older chapter - if you are reading this right now, you are still alive and available to write something fantastic for yourself today.