Soon it will be coming up on the two-year anniversary that my husband passed away. Recently, a person told me that I should 'Get Over It' and to move on with my life. The person also indicated that, we all lose people and I should not allow memories to control my actions.
As a widow, I have heard that this type of thing happens. Friends or family indicating their opinions of how long grief should last. It had not happened to me directly within the last two years and I considered myself lucky. But now, there it was, somebody said it. How did I respond to that person? I didn't respond to them at all. After all, when I look into the mirror, I see my own eyes everyday and I know myself better than anyone else could.
How did I feel about what was said? Well, that part was what surprised me. I actually felt a twinge of anger throughout the day. What should "moving on" look like? Is there a standard of moving on that I am unaware of? I thought of all the things that I did after my husband's funeral.
I continued to work full time. I made improvements to the much ignored house. I made friends. I gave my children things to smile about and to continue to work towards. I strengthened my relationship with my children and let them know that everything will be okay, that I am still here for them. We went on family trips, to the ocean, to the mountains. I continued to be creative and did things with my hands that make me happy. I write and maintain a blog to help raise awareness for Pulmonary Fibrosis. I realized that I need to care for myself and started to exercise and eat a bit better. I contemplate what direction my life will go and explore the things that interest me. I planted a garden. I read books. I swam in the river. I hugged, smiled, and laughed. Yes, I still keep my loved one's memory alive. Hmmmm.... not bad for less than two years of losing a spouse, in my opinion. What was making me angry? Perhaps the feeling that I needed to defend and itemize my accomplishments toward growth. Sorry, if it seems like I am not advancing fast enough for you.
I am not one who enjoys feeling anger, I reached out to a friend to see what her standpoint was. As a matter of fact, she is Annie, my co-host on Breathing's Face Book page. She, too, lost a loved one to Pulmonary Fibrosis. She also experienced similar input from a friend, to just Get Over 'It.' Annie indicated that 'it' is her lovely mother. 'It' is my beloved husband. 'It' was a father, a brother, a son, a friend. 'It' is not an it, It is a person. A person that we care for and love. She is right.
As for not allowing memories to control my actions, that is true if the actions are negative and destructive. What if the actions are of kindness or advocacy? If we do not allow our memories to shape us or control our actions how is it that we ever learn and grow? I am glad I am not the person I was at 14. I am glad I am not the person I was at 24 or 34. This is because I experienced things that allowed me to reflect, learn and grow. It is my belief that certain things happen to all of us that cause a struggle or a look within. This is what life is! There is a beauty in life because of these experiences. Love, grief, happiness, mistakes, and success do become part of our memories for a purpose. So that we can evolve in our thinking. These are our own personal life's experiences that began from the moment we were born and shape us into the unique beings that we are. To turn my back on the life's events that shape me would be turning my back on myself.