Pop psychology says that there our four stages of grief, denial, anger, sadness, acceptance. Now I think they say there are five, or seven, or nine. Truth is there are any number of stages and no order to them. Everyone’s grief is completely different. I wish there was more of a map and I’ve asked many who have gone before about their experiences, because I wanted to have a clue what I might experience; but I know there isn’t a pattern.
One day, this past week, when my sister was cooking dinner for us and we were getting ready to watch a show, I realized I was enjoying the evening. Not enjoying it, but wishing he was here, just straight enjoying the time.
It was a first. I’ve had an appreciation for many thing inspite of him being gone, but I haven’t had an appreciation “.” Full stop. No buts or except fors, or inspite ofs. I didn’t know what was different for awhile, but later that night I realized I had accepted it. “Acceptance” was actually the word that came to my mind and only later did I remember those stages. Acceptance that this was my life now and evaluating it as it was, and not as it wasn’t.
It think this was prompted partially by my time on Tuesday reading the challenging widow book about what God calls widows to do, and our freedom to devote ourselves to God, without other responsibilities of marriage. It’s not about whether I wish he was still with us.
It was also prompted by a dinner with friends and our pastor Gareth, when Zoya was again with that same family who kept her this past Tuesday. Gareth mentioned that he was rereading the Chronicals of Narnia. I started to do the same and Aslan, for the 2nd time, has mentioned that we can’t even know what would have happened, we only get to know what will happen.
I don’t have the complete answer to what acceptance is, and I don’t expect that I’ll just get to stay in the place, but I’m starting to get a clue.
This isn’t a place you can rush. If I tried to get here any earlier, it would have come at a price of pushing away the magnitude of the loss and denying the priceless love and light of my husband.
But today we are here. I completely love and miss my husband.
We’ve loved every minute of our time here, the plane flight, the swimming, the bath, the food, the sun, the naps with gifted wine from precious friends, the laughs and giggles, the conversations, the birds and the squirrels. Our life is very blessed.
It’s a new life, full of new challenges and new joys. It’s a life I’ve never experienced before. It’s similar to single life in some ways, but also, oh so different. It doesn’t have nearly the same freedom, but it is free of so many insecurities. I am loved and not just by God. Shah showed me love here on earth that has helped me not only know God’s love more truely, but also the love of friends and family here on earth. I’m a different person as a widow than I was as a single.
There is still so much to learn about widow life. I’m embracing the title. There are many gifts and promises that come with it. It’s not all tears and loss. It’s also smiles and gain.