I visited some professors of mine this last week and enjoyed staying in touch with them, and listening to their positive encouragement for my personal growth and professional development. It was very nice. But I also noticed, something always seems to strike a nerve--not in a bad way. But something tugs at my heart where I almost always tear up about something.
As I thought about this more, I realized that perhaps this tug at the heart is more deeply about loss. One of my professors passed away. I attended the funeral, the memorial service, and the lunch. But I still miss this person. I recieved approval and encouragment to live my dreams from this person. This person was also very influential in my choice to return to graduate school. I still miss this person.
I have never really had anyone close to me die. Yes, I've had grandparents pass away, but they lived far away and I didn't have a very close relationship to them. Here I find myself, stuck--still dealing with grief and loss every time I set foot back on campus, remembering this wonderful person.
It seems to compound the loss I feel about losing so many other people in my life as I stepped away from my religion. I have bumped into a few of these people on occasion, but it's not the same. I'm different and they are different. We don't share the same basic assumptions about life, so 'how do I act around you now?' seems to be the feeling I get from them as well as feel myself.
I don't have any advice about letting go of people of this sort. I have plenty about letting go of people that are clutter or negative influences in your life. But loss through death, or voluntarily leaving a community mind-set of people--I still struggle a bit on how to make peace with this.