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The word "acceptance" has been like a mantra to me since my husband died on January 14, 2006. For me, working to accept his death has been one of the most important steps in my own healing. I accept that Ken is gone. I accept that I must continue to live well without him. I accept that I will never forget him and that the sadness of his death and the joy of our 15 years together have woven together as part of the person I am today.


I wrote this poem to confront head-on the way that the death of a loving spouse absolutely confounds us. Even though death is part of the bargain we ultimately must accept as part of the price of living, I have found that acceptance of it takes a lot of hard work, time, and struggle. 


Here. Forever. Gone.


I get it now.
You are really gone.
Grasping your infinite absence:
Like trying to understand
We're part of the Milky Way
While we stare at it overhead
On the darkest of nights.

You aren't coming back to me ever
Even if I hold your memory like a baby,
Even if I never stop writing you onto these pages.

And you are never leaving me either.
I can't write you out of me
Or find you when I pin my hopes
On the wrong guy over and over, I try.

You're staying here
Where you entered,
Where you launched
The gentlest, most peaceful takeover in the history
That continues word by word.

In the darkest night I am
Always alone now.
You are everywhere and nowhere.
I am lost in your magnitude
As I have been since the day
You crossed my threshold
And the night you crossed yours,
Never and completely disappearing.



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Comment by NMWidower on May 26, 2011 at 10:20am

Jill,  I am totally with you!  Acceptance does not taste too good but it certainly is good for me.  I find myself "kicking" against the new reality at times but as time marches on realize and accept it as the castor oil takes effect! ;-)  You are right though the whole grief process is a tough one to realize the "good" and "beauty" in it at first, but over time I see it more and more even even only by glimpses here and there!  But as I have accepted this new "reality" more and l;earned to face the losses and fix the "hurts" associated with the loss in living alone there really is an amazing peace that starts to come.  I dont know if I will ever truly "Like" the taste of the acceptance, but I certainly do appreciate it more and more.  For me its really in essence coming to peace with life .  I cant go back no matter how much I would "love" to and yet over time learning to enjoy life again as its either that or just be sad and bitter and I dont want that to define the rest of my life.  I think learning that has helped with my accepting it.  Part of that struggle for me was realize I can accept this life but dont necessarily have to "like" it.  I think as I have done that it does slowly little by little become colored again and less grey and beauty is seen again little by little.

Life really is a gift and each day really IS a treasure.  Choosing to live again and to let go of the hurt and pain really is a journey to freedom.  Glad to see us both on that journey!  May all widows and widowers one day find that peace and joy and wonder in each day of life again too even if its just one small step at a time. 


Comment by Jill on May 26, 2011 at 6:21am
Thank all for your thoughts. Pat...initially I found acceptance to be bitter, like the castor oil you describe, but as time goes on I am finding much more beauty in it. I wish the same for you.
Comment by Dianne in Nevada on May 25, 2011 at 9:47am
This is beautiful, Jill.
Comment by SallyStarre on May 25, 2011 at 8:34am
Your words reflect my feelings.  Thank you
Comment by NMWidower on May 25, 2011 at 7:25am

Thanks for sharing Jill.  "acceptance" seems like my "castor oil" dose.  While I never really took castor oil I grew up seeing people take it in shows.  It tastes bad but its good for you they would say.  It seems like in grieving to be very similar for me.  It takes so long to truly accept the loss, I still remember 8-9 months before I fully accepted the fact she was gone.  From then on I find I take a different pill of acceptance in learning to accept the consequences of her not being here single parenthood, loneliness, and "desert" like periods.  I know it really is helping me little by little, but it does not make it taste better! ;-) 

Thanks for sharing you heart with us..  Pat-NMWidower

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