Acceptance is a word that doesn’t mix very well with the word death. It seems by saying that I accept this death that I’m ok with what has happened. That is not true. Acceptance is confused with ok with what happened and I don’t think anyone feels loss was justified or that they like this situation. Acceptance is acknowledging the loss, learning to live with it, and finding meaning. After all of the stages of feeling this is not real, this stage is seeing the reality that this is a permanent situation and moving into having more good days than bad. This is the new normal we will get used to living.
Acceptance meant that I had looked at everything with his death and decided it was his time to die. Even if it was too soon, it happened and I must walk on for my life’s sake. It was time for me to heal. It was time to figure out ways to remember him and still move forward.
The healing for me begins, but it’s so confusing. My identity was a wife first. So who am I now? This wasn’t peaceful – it was still a process of healing. Most days my brain knows he’s gone and now I get to try to figure out how to do this on my own. Wow, am I up for this challenge? For a while, now I was trying to live the way it used to be, but it will never be like that again. I had to change my mindset. I was the only adult in the house. This was completely foreign to me and finding balance in life seemed like trying to fly, but I had to do this. I had to reorganize my head and how to run my household by myself. I had to find a new relationship with my husband who had passed – I could feel him near sometimes, but I knew physically he could not help me day by day.
Acceptance is one of the many stages and it feels good when I got here, but I had to realize I could go back to one of the other stages and then I would re-learn the acceptance stage again. None of these stages are the END of the grieving process- it keeps going throughout our lives.
People around me would always tell me I am so strong and I thought, “You have no idea what a mess I feel like!” But then I was growing personally. I have learned a lot and am changing into a better person because I have been in awkward situations and lived through it all! I am finding out that I can put more time into my personal development instead of thinking about the loss. I also found more time to reconnect with friends and family I had put on the back burner. It felt good to be with friends again.
What helps me? I realize that I’m not in control- people die and I can’t decide when. Doesn’t everyone like a little control? With death there is none. This wasn’t a bad thing, though. It made me grateful for each and every day and I treat life like a gift. Nobody knows when their end will be, so live. Live big. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.I took this living like there is no tomorrow to a whole new level. I had no fear.
Oh no, here comes the stage again of feeling like I am betraying him by being happy. No. Say this out loud, “I have the right as a human being to feel joy. I am going to move to acceptance and know he passed, but I didn’t. My life is worth living and doing it happily.” Don’t discard the feelings you are having- sit with them, be curious about them, and know that grief takes time. Experience healing and growing- it’s what we are here for. Wow, am I experiencing A LOT!