The Past Tense of Grief

I loved him.

It’s been two months since he passed, and those three words still feel so awfully cruel.

Every conversation now happens in the past tense. As if a switch was flipped the moment he passed.

It doesn’t work like that though.

Those few moments, between him being alive, and him not being alive, did not change how I feel about him, and his influence on my life.

It can be hard to sit with a grieving person, I know. It isn’t easy to say the right things. But there is one thing that has genuinely been helpful for me.

The acknowledgement that our relationship hasn’t ended, although it has changed.

My brain and body haven’t adjusted to his absence yet, and the abrupt linguistic changes feel like a cruel joke.

Had. Did. Was.


I still love him more than anything. He is still my favourite person.

We don’t have to lie to ourselves. I know he is no longer here. But could we stop forcing grieving people into additional drastic changes overnight?

Can we create a buffer zone of language for the (recently) deceased, where we acknowledge their passing without immediately erasing their existence?

Where we acknowledge that the relationship needs to change, but that it doesn’t need to be obliterated.

If anything, this is the moment we get to decide how we want to relate to our loved one.

Death does not (have to) end a relationship.

It is up to us to keep their memory alive.

Until death and beyond,



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