Grief evolves. And, my grief is no exception. I wrote this blog at the 2.9 years mark and since then I have added two more years to my widowhood. And, my grief has changed. And, no, the changes are not always linear. Grief moves you forward and backwards and sideways. It takes you places you never expected to be. And, there is no real end point. There is not a finish line to any of this.
We can not shed our grief like I had hoped early on. Instead, we must carefully and tenderly absorb it into our bones. Grief is in the air you breath, in swirls around in your coffee, it is in the sunshine that warms your shoulders, and it lingers in your bathwater. You can not escape grief; I now realize that this isn’t possible. And, it is not the goal. It never was.
Over time you learn to hold your grief and you can then allow it to fuse into your psyche. And, with consistent practice you become more and more proficient at carrying it. With grit and grace, you move forward the best way you know how. There is not another choice. There is no returning to the life you used to have. So, eventually, we all begin to build a new life around the grief that lives inside us. How we go about our rebuild is different for us all. And, likewise, what we choose to recreate is ours to decide. It is scary and overwhelming. And, it is also somewhat exciting too.
This is your life. It is the beginning of whatever you want. Recently, I read that “the beginning is the end”. Read that twice. It is profound. This suggests that whatever we choose and take into our hearts as we set out, in the beginning, will determine the end.
This is really kinda major. This means it is time to dream big. This is not the time to act meek. It is time for bold moves. It is time to launch yourself forward into the life you want.
I said in a previous blog that I raged against acceptance for the better part of two years. I simply could not accept Mike’s death in my heart. Well, recently, I had a change of heart. I am beginning to accept his death in both my head AND in my heart. It is making all the difference. Starting to accept his death does not mean I like it. I don’t. I will never be “okay” with Mike dying. I don’t even bother trying to find peace regarding his death. For me, it won’t be found.
When I say that I am accepting his death I am merely saying that I accept that he died and I did not. It means that I acknowledge that MY life is not over, only his is. It means that I accept in my Heart what my head knows. Mike is dead. He is not coming back to save me from any of this. He can’t. His death is final. In my head I have long understood his absence is forever; but, in my heart I just could not process this. I’m grateful for this shift in my heart because it is giving me my LIFE back.
I want to be clear that I do not think acceptance is a permanent state. I predict that I will ebb and flow between acceptance as I continue to grieve. From my experience, nothing is permanent in life or in grief. The only thing constant in life is change. Mike’s death has reinforced this for me.
And, finally, me working to accept his death does not equate to any sort of finality in my grief. There isn’t any. Acceptance simply allows me to live more fully and completely again. Acceptance allows me to come back to life after surviving Mike’s death.
I am now at 4.9 years. Two years have passed since I originally wrote this blog and I can say that my grief is more bearable now than it was two years ago. I am living again. Somehow I managed to find a way back to life. These days I can be mostly present in my own life once again. I can be almost present in most moments again. This is some feat. For years I would ruminate about Mike all day long. I do not do this anymore and it has given me room to live the life I have before me.
The memory of Mike is no longer keeping me from living anymore. It took all the grit and grace I could muster toAlong the way there were many days I did not think that I would ever find joy again, but I have. It is possible, but this is not to say that it was easy. It wasn’t. Surviving Mike’s death was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I did it and you will get through this too.