I've learned a lot in the 10 years since my husband died marcielyons.com

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since he died. Wow, an entire decade! In some ways, it feels like a year ago, in some ways it feels like it was a different lifetime. It’s interesting how the stages of grief feel as you get further down the path of moving forward. It’s been difficult to say the least, but I am really loving the person I am becoming. I have experienced every emotion under the sun and it’s been both awful and a miracle all wrapped up in my little life. I can honestly say now that I wouldn’t take back this experience – the good, the bad, and the ugly- or I wouldn’t be me. People say I’ve changed. You bet I have!

These are 10 lessons learned…

*1* Compassion. My thoughts were, “WOW this is what it feels like to lose your spouse?! Are you kidding me- this hurts my heart so freakin bad and I can’t believe innumerable people have gone through this and survived! What can I do to take a piece of the pain away from anyone else that has to do this?”The only thing I have thought of so far is to tell my story and show that it really is possible (at an unknown date) to be happy and find meaning in the loss. I cry when I hear of a friend who is going through this new widow stuff- it breaks my heart to know what they’re probably experiencing. I also know that everyone grieves differently and found empathy for anyone going through this.

*2* Nobody goes through life living on Easy Street. Compassion grows into other areas besides loss, too. I realized I have no idea what people are facing who are walking by me at the store or driving beside me on the street. This happened to me the day after Jay passed as I was driving barely in a straight line. I thought, “Doesn’t everyone know the world just ended?” Nobody seemed to notice! Now when I see a driver who seems to be distracted, I give them the benefit of the doubt- who knows what she is going through. Everyone has hard stuff, so be nice, judge less, and love more. We are all in this together.

*3* Ugly tears never hurt anyone. I cried a lot by myself in my closet. I didn’t want people to see me cry- not my kids or neighbors or strangers. Actually, I bet that more strangers have seen me cry- yep at Walmart a couple of days after Jay died and I lost it in the cereal aisle. I wasn’t expecting that at all. It’s not a pretty sight. I couldn’t believe that months after he died people suggested I hadn’t grieved or I wasn’t sad or I had moved on. I really did cry, I sobbed, just alone. Now I know that it won’t hurt your kids to show them adults can be sad, especially with huge things like losing their dad! It will actually be good for them. I know they saw it, but I tried to put on a happy face when they got home from school, hold in the tears and retreat to my closet when the tears started flowing over. It’s really hard for me, but I’m learning to show and talk about my emotions.

*4* Life is short. Jay and I planned for future fun, so it never really happened. Plan things throughout the year, heck each day or week! I have learned to stop and smell those roses. You don’t really want to remember all the days you worked for later and then later never came. I lived that and that wasn’t cool. Fun and happiness aren’t a destination- they should be part of the journey. All along the way.

*5* Nobody moves on, just moves forward. If you haven’t been there, I will tell you that one day you don’t wake up and think, oh this is over, it doesn’t hurt anymore. Nope- they aren’t coming back, so the grief will always be a part of your life. That’s not to say that you won’t ever be happy again. I am happy in my new normal. People would ask me, “Aren’t you over this yet?” No. Jay’s death is now a big part of my story and that’s not over yet.

*6* I’m grateful. This has been one heck of a process going from feeling tons of sadness and regret to being grateful. It seriously took years. Some days I thought “I wish I had never even met him.” If I hadn’t met him I wouldn’t feel this extreme pain. Then slowly processed that I wouldn’t be where I am today or have the kids, the experience, or the challenges that I have learned from. It really doesn’t help to think “What if I had chosen a different path?” I didn’t, so it doesn’t matter. This is what I have so I am going to make the best of it. Life really is full of things like “you have to know the bitter to know the sweet.” Saying things I am grateful for many times a day really helped me turn this big, slow corner. It’s awesome now because I changed the process of how I think. It’s now a part of my life that many times a day I visualize all I’m grateful for. The other side is so amazing that I am grateful for whatever it was that got me here.

*7* It’s my choice to be a victim or a victor. I had to change the story I was telling myself. It’s all my choice of how I look at things. Things aren’t done to me- things are for me! I am creating my life and I want it to be awesome. Sometimes I feel the pain instantly again and have to remind myself from this hardship I became a strong woman. I didn’t know I had it in me! I learned to stand up for myself and my kids because I didn’t have Jay to do it. I don’t do well with contention at all, but it seemed to find me around each corner. I found out that I could go toe to toe with just about anyone.

*8* Action heals, not time. Yes, memories become a little sweeter with time, but what helped me go through this (you can’t go around it- I tried that) was action. Getting out of bed, going to the gym, walking, or anything that moves my body is what helped me the most. I learned from Tony Robbins when you are feeling depressed, “Change your physical state.” I also loved his advice and I use it all the time when walking. Tony says to breathe in to the count of four while saying to yourself, “I love my life.” Breathe out the same way. Saying this to yourself over and over makes a huge difference. Your mind starts to believe anything that you tell it. So get moving and tell yourself positive info over and over. Action is the most important key to any success.“ Tony Robbins.

*9* Death is spiritual. I had no idea what I was getting into when my husband passed away. I hadn’t known anyone too close to me (besides my grandparents) that had died. All I could think of when watching others go through this was, “I have no idea how you would ever get through that!” I didn’t know the spiritual side of things that help immensely. I strongly felt my husband near me and my kids. I know his spirit continues on in another sphere. Angels surrounded my home and I felt their protection even throughout the night. I was lifted and could think clearly when making important decisions. I felt a warm peace like arms or blankets placed over me. These were sweet gifts given to me from my loving Heavenly Father that showed me He knew exactly what was going on and would help me through it all.

*10* Find meaning in the loss. I learned that if I find meaning in the loss or anything hard, I will have peace. Jay’s death was tragic. I wouldn’t wish this heartache on anyone, but since it happened to me, how can I use it to make things better for others? I want everyone to know they are special and their life is worth living. I wish inner peace for everyone. I know that’s not easy or sometimes possible, so if I can bring light and happiness to the world I will do it. Like Wonder Woman said, “Only love can save this world. So I stay, I fight and I give… for the world I know can be. This is my mission now. Forever”

only love can save this world Wonder Woman quote | marcielyons.com