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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Awareness and Acceptance

There are times when to surrender is the only way forward. Sometimes there comes a point when neither 'fight' or 'flight' are viable options any longer. A few weeks ago I felt like I had come to the end of my resources and all I could do was to surrender. I was not succumbing to an attitude of defeat and I was most certainly not giving up. I was simply acknowledging the truth of where I was. This was a very dark place.... I couldn't change it, I couldn't escape from it, and to fight against it was futile and exhausting. In some ways it was like crashing into a brick wall, but, with hindsight, it was also a significant milestone.
Unable to fight my situation and my emotional response to it, I found myself becoming increasingly aware of my feelings in a more passive way. I was able to acknowledge the sadness, despair, depression, anxiety, and much more, and simply allow them to be there. No matter how unbearably awful these emotions are, I've found that it's possible to acknowledge their existence whilst resisting the instinct to respond. I accept that this is the way it is for now. I don't like it, but I can't change it, so I choose not to waste my energy trying to fight it. 
Obviously I miss Suzie as much as ever. I cherish every precious memory of her and of the life we shared. But I have to accept that it is now in the past. The life we loved so much is now a memory. For a long time it felt rather disrespectful to even want to accept that Suzie is no longer here, and it seemed like I was diminishing her significance by accepting that she's gone. But wishing that she was still here isn't going to change anything. My world is a very different and unfamiliar place now, but it is what it is, and I have to believe that it will be ok.
Each morning I still awake with an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and panic, but that, too, is something I have learnt to accept. I take some slow, deep breaths and sit up in bed quietly acknowledging everything I have to be thankful for. I take each day as it comes, focussing only on what actually matters for that day. During recent weeks I have become aware of things that trigger a sense of personal well being. Sometimes I may not feel like I want to go out, meet with people, tend the garden, go for a walk, or whatever.... but I am aware that such activities have a positive effect on my state of mind. My daughter very wisely advised me to see such things as medicine.... It may not taste great at the time, but it's worth taking because I know it will make me feel better. 
During the last couple of weeks two of my dear friends have also lost their loved ones. My heart goes out to them. I have shared their sense of loss, and I feel humbled to be able to reach out to them, knowing something of what they are experiencing. Re-living that initial rawness of grief and desolation through their loss has also made me realise that my own experience has moved on. Take courage my friends (you know who you are). 
I also have exchanged messages with two other friends, one of whom has just passed the first anniversary of his wife's death, and another who is approaching the first anniversary of her husband's. Both of you are a great sense of support and inspiration to me. Again, you know who you are. 
So.... Life goes on. This isn't the life I would have chosen, but it is the life God has chosen for me. My faith remains steadfast and I know that, in His will, there is fullness of joy, and life in all its abundance. I may not feel particularly joyful right now, but what I do feel is a tremendous sense of peace and hope. I thank God for precious friends and family who share love and practical support with me. May God bless you all.