Your first love is someone you will always remember. No matter how much time has passed, or whether you still see them, they’ll always have a special place in your heart. I met my own first love 16 years ago, and it wasn’t until I found out he’d died that I realized just how much he meant to me. From the moment I heard the news, I experienced an enormous variety of emotions, many of which were completely unexpected. Here are a few things I have realized about first loves and loss over the last few weeks.
First love never really dies
I always thought that it was a bit of a cliché to say that people will always have feelings for their first love. I know for sure that I always had a fondness for my own, but until I found out I’d never see him again, I had no idea how deep the feelings were. It feels like the piece of my heart I saved for him has shriveled away, leaving a gaping hole that can’t be replaced. Losing anyone you love is hard, but the death of a first love is a pain like no other, and all you can do is hold on tight and wait for the wound to heal.
There is no way to tell how grief will affect you
One of the most surprising things to me was that, on hearing he had died, I felt like I had suffered a personal loss. The truth is, I hadn’t seen him in 14 years, so I couldn’t figure out why I was so affected by his death. No matter how hard I try, I still can’t entirely make sense of it. What I have learned is that there is no set way that the grief over the loss of your first love will make you feel or act. It might be that you feel sad for a while, then move on, or you could find yourself sleepless and unhappy for a long time.
It’s hard to know where to turn
When you have suffered a bereavement, it’s normal to turn to your family for support because they will often be feeling the loss as much as you are. Things aren’t so simple when you are grieving for someone your relatives didn’t know, and it is doubly hard if you hadn’t seen the person for a long time. You may be met with an attitude of, “Why are you crying over someone you hadn’t seen for years?” Explaining your feelings when you are already sad is almost impossible, so sometimes it seems easier just to keep it bottled up. As someone who tried this approach, I wouldn’t recommend it. Find someone you trust, and let it all out. It really does make a difference.
Grief is hard to deal with at any time, but grief over the death of your first love is something very different. It doesn’t just make you sad for the loss, it reminds you of all the reasons you kept them so close to your heart for such a long time.