Most of the time we speak of grief — when we do speak of it, that is! — we refer to the person who died as the 'loved one'. We assume the relationship was one of love, and that the person left behind is saddened by the loss of that relationship. But sometimes the relationship was not a loving one. Sometimes it was even toxic. What is it like if your 'Loved One' was not someone you think of with love? What if a central figure in your life was not necessarily a loving figure?
Most people in the throes of grief long for the day when the pain and confusion will lessen, when grief will 'loosen its grip' so that they can experience happiness again, even when they can’t really believe that day will ever come. But when that day does come — the day where you find yourself laughing out loud and really enjoying yourself, where you are looking forward to a new hobby or a special event, where you notice you haven’t thought about the person who died all day — when that longed-for moment finally comes you can be hit with an unexpected wave of grief — in the all-too-familiar but somehow still surprising form of guilt and self-doubt.