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Step One Again? Step One Again?

It’s been three months since he died and my friends and family are starting to worry about me.  Shouldn’t I be snapping out of this malaise? Why my lack of interest in things I had formerly cared about? In the past, I’ve been able to talk myself out of self pity and resentment when things veered off course, but this grief thing  is proving a greater challenge. 

Having over thirty plus years in the 12 step program (Al-Anon, Families Anonymous, and CoDa) has taught me that I am responsible for my own well being. I can’t expect others to make me happy. Happiness is the way I choose to respond to the world around me. Happiness is choosing to focus on self improvement. Happiness is being grateful. If I want people to give me the space to think, pray, ponder, and explore, then I must do the same for them. Holding grudges, hanging on to grief, resentment, mistrust, suspicion, fear does not free me or make me feel any better. Life is a crapshoot, and the sooner I accept that, the better off I am. One thing is clear,  grieving or not, the world looks different when I am intentionally grateful, take time to appreciate the beauty and potential that is all around me, spend time outdoors with Mother Nature, and am kind and respectful to myself and others.  

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I have been drifting since he died,  waiting for something to fill the empty space he left..  Passivity has been easy.  Assuming responsibility for my own well being and peace of mind is a greater challenge. as I’m having to learn how to live in a world that does not revolve around him and his care. 

I went to bed last night convinced I am ready to pick up the reins of my life.  This morning I am less sure. Yet given this is the first day of the rest of my life,  my only real option is to start over with Step One: Admit I am powerless over his death and that by allowing myself to stay in this in-between space I am making my life unmanageable. It’s time to start peeling back the layers of my emotional onion, exposing my broken parts to the light, giving myself permission to heal.   

There is magic in the steps, just as there is magic in heartfelt prayer, a magic that emerges as we give God permission to work in our lives. Even as I write, I can feel important questions pushing their way to the surface. Is my feeling lethargic and unfocused a way of keeping him close, making his death the single most important thing in my life?  Am I afraid of losing him if I allow myself to be active and functional again? How do I pick up the broken pieces of my life and move into God’s open future? How do I live for both of us now?

O God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change such as his death, the courage to change the things I can, such as my responses to his death, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Help me live one day at a time, enjoy one moment at a time, accept hardship as the pathway to peace. It always comes down to that, doesn’t it, God, accepting hardship as the pathway to peace? 

Bright morning sunshine invites me outside as I sit here in my blogging chair talking to You, You who are greater than anything I can know or comprehend. Dare I really trust that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will? Dare I truly trust that I can be reasonably happy in the time I have left?

Dare I say “thank you” in advance?  Thank you for once again filling me with joie de vivre, even if I can’t feel it right now?

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Andrea Theisson
Andrea Theisson
1 year ago

Ah, Joyce – You’ll get there! It may help to think of how your husband would want to see you living (now for you both, perhaps) and just be gentle with yourself…this is still very new territory for you. Walk in beauty and take care. Peace.

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