A few days ago I was out having coffee with a bunch of friends and one of the guys asked Laura and I, “At what point did you accept Mikes death?” My response? “For me, I think I accepted it the instant it happened.” I think he may have been a bit surprised at my answer; and to be completely honest, had I asked that same question to someone else (at what point did you accept your circumstances), and that was their response, I think I would have doubted their apparent peace. As in, I’d be thinking to myself “Yea but SURELY…”
The journey of accepting Mike’s death was a process. There’s different types of acceptance. It was immediately after I got the news Mike died that I was faced with this indescribable journey and I accepted instantly that I was on this journey. There was nothing I could do to stop what happen happened or what was happening. I chose to be vulnerable and not fight against the wave. The only way I can connect it to anything is like how I react to a general anaesthetic.
My last operation involved a laparoscopy where the doctors went through my belly button. I woke up not feeling pain but my body still somehow knew it took a beating. I was in no mental, physical or emotional state to try and “survive”. If anything, I surrendered my survival instincts to the nurses around me. They were the ones who managed my wellbeing. Not me. I had total release to do nothing but lie in that hospital bed and let them take over. The survival of food, warmth, safety… it was all down to them to provide. And it was very much the same with Mike’s death. I literally woke up to a nightmare. Nothing I did in my life could have provoked him to die, nor could it have saved him. I knew in my heart that the ONLY one who could get me through this was God. Just like I did with the doctors and nurses, I surrendered my wellbeing to God.
What do I mean? It was NOT my battle anymore. It was not my battle to try to get out of bed in the morning. It was not my strength, my motivation, my ability. It was all God’s strength. By accepting that I was on this journey and that I was released from any type of survival, it meant that I was free. I could totally be me and not try to hide behind anything. No compartmentalization. No fear of myself and the ability to cope with all my emotions, thoughts and pain. Nothing, and completely released.
Acceptance is a multi faceted diamond. For weeks after Mike’s death I would cry every night. I think it was something like after 6 months I stopped crying everyday, and it went to every other day or some thing haha. A big part of my acceptance was not fighting against my emotions. I made no apologies to God, myself or to others for how I felt or what I thought. The only way I could get through this was to be real and honest. Without those two things, there’s no way I could have ever proceeded what I needed to process in order to get through it.
Acceptance was never about being “ok” with Mike’s death. I made it clear to God that I wasn’t ok with it and that I was really hurting. I could however find peace with demanding God to make his death worth it. My whole process of forgiving God for taking Mike had a lot to do with acceptance. But maybe not in the way you’d think. As far as I was concerned, God might be onto something good with taking Mike, but he better be sure he hurt me. BIG time. I never hated God for it, I wouldn’t even say I was angry. But he really hurt me. I needed God to acknowledge the fact that by taking Mike, he did in fact hurt me. I actually needed God to accept that he hurt me. By God acknowledging he hurt me, I was actually able to trust him. I always did trust him. But it was a total confirmation that he loves me and that the reasons behind Mike’s death were for good. Even if that was simply because God wanted to bring him to heaven for himself.
Another dynamic of the acceptance thing was the feeling that Mike never really left. Later it was accepting that in some ways it was like he was never really here in the first place. Accepting that he will never grow old and that Laura… in August this year, will biologically become older than him. Accepting that his stry ends and mine continues without him. This whole journey was a process of acceptance. I accepted things on the day, the day after he died… and every day since. I’m still grappling with some areas of acceptance was time goes on. Things come up today that have never come up before. New facets of this diamond.
In retrospect after Mike died, it became clear to me that God was preparing my heart for this. It’s quite hard to explain without going into all the details but the best way for me to explain this is to post the link on this blog to my mum’s “book“. She wrote this collaboration of all the stories surrounding Mike’s death before he died, at his death, and after his death. It’s called “Breadcrumbs in the Storm” and I would absolutely encourage you to read it.
I think the biggest thing I would challenge you all is to never ever compartmentalized anything. Always be real. And always be honest. Don’t fight the wave because that takes more energy from you and does more damage to you than if you chose to journey your situation. I don’t believe our lives are random. I think everything we go through in our lives is relevant to our own story. I don’t know why I went through death and not others around me. But I chose to believe I can use it for good. I don’t know why I didn’t go through things that you have gone through. But I think we have the power and strength through God to get through anything and use it for good. I know about loss and change like I’ve never known before. Even the loss of a dream… I can connect with people I a way that I never would have before. Life is a choice. And that’s really what it boils down to. I made a choice to surrender, trust, believe and continue. And it’s up to you whether you make the choice. I hope you do, whatever your circumstances are. I’m not saying for one minute that it’s easy… But I’m saying that it’s worth it.