For the first time since losing Matt, I seem to be entering into some sort of an acceptance stage. I don’t typically like referring to the typical five stages of grief, I feel they grossly over-simplify the process. But alas, acceptance is part of healing.
Acceptance isn’t as straight forward as one would think. There’s a lot of different aspects that you have to come to terms with. You have to somehow find a way to accept that your partner is gone. I find this has been particularly challenging for me because Matt’s death was so sudden and unexpected. I was not equipped to handle this reality. I was 25 years old. That’s not a reality that I should have had to face. But sadly, thanks to the general chaos of life and random chromosomal mutations, I found myself suddenly and unexpectedly widowed at the age of 25.
For so long I was just in shock, complete disbelief. I ended up shutting down, and was sort of flailing about through an autopilot mode of sorts. Dealing with all of the moving out of state and figuring out the basics to get myself to survive. I began to settle into Minnesota. And then I got antsy. So I got a job and started dating (I keep my dating life to myself in terms of my public writing). I was trying to make my life look and feel like an actual life again.
As I got busier, I neglected my grief more and more. I was tired of grieving. I was tired of that being my reality. So I ignored it, shoved it away. But it slowly started to creep back in. I was going at an unsustainable pace, and I started to crack under the weight of it all. Then, my PTSD got triggered and I completely fell apart. I broke. The weight of everything came crashing down and it was too much. I broke to an extent that I did not know was possible.
Thankfully, I am starting to come out of this, months later. I still have a long way to go, but that is okay. I know I can do this. I have an amazing support network (seriously you guys are amazing I love you), and I’m diligent with my therapy. I am very in tune with my body, mind, and heart. I listen to myself, my loved ones, and I pay attention to what life is telling me to do next.
As the fog finally begins to lift for me, I find myself starting to show signs of acceptance. Just simply accepting the fact that this happened. Accepting that my reality was forever altered and there is nothing I can do to bring my past back, to bring Matt back.
I find myself struggling to navigate acceptance. I once again find myself in unknown territory. Who knew that acceptance could be daunting? I certainly didn’t until now. I had this unrealistic thought in my mind that I would just wake up and be okay with everything somehow. Obviously, it’s not that easy and I am now adapting to the reality of it all as best as I can. It is difficult to try to explain that I have to accept my new life into my heart, and all of the internal battles associated with that. There are sides of acceptance that are beautiful and freeing, but there’s so much guilt intertwined. So many mixed feelings and so much doubt. And I am acutely aware of the fact that grief and PTSD both are not linear in their healing. So, I find acceptance to be scary. I feel very on edge, waiting for everything to fall apart again. I have been struggling for so long, I almost don’t know how to respond to positive results. There’s such a fear of breaking again. The fear of hitting those deep, horrific lows. The fear of never really being okay.
I have been working very hard to look at every aspect of acceptance and this new stage I find myself in. I am doing my best to encourage myself to think positively. I make sure to celebrate every victory, no matter how small. I share my successes and my failures. I’m learning self compassion. I am learning many new coping mechanisms thanks to therapy. I am learning how to take my life back. And I will learn how to feel comfortable with happiness again. I will learn how to fully accept how my life has changed. I will learn to find peace with my reality. I will find joy again.