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Looking back from the perspective of 5 years

This was a milestone year. 5 years. how it happened I don't know I think the below makes so much sense where I am right now

I did not write this but I think that after five years these are indeed the things I have learned. I wish I knew who wrote it because I would give them credit, but whoever wrote it really gets it.

A time finally comes when you "get it" ... when, in the midst of all your tears and insanity you stop in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out "ENOUGH!! Enough fighting, crying, guilt and struggling just to hold on.

Then, like a child quieting down after a tantrum, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.

You realize it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to magically appear over the next horizon.

You realize that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings and that any guarantees of "happily ever after" must begin with you ... and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that your lost spouse wasn't perfect, nor are you; and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who and what you are ... and that's OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and in the process a sense of newfound confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did or said to you (or didn't do or say) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.

You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that everyone will not always be there for you and that everything isn't always about you.

So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself ... and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties ... and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You learn to open up to new ideas and different points of view/ you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really want out of the rest of your life.

You learn the difference between WANTING and NEEDING and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown through the grief process (or should have never brought into it in the first place).

You learn that principles such as honesty and compassion are not outdated ideals, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your new life.

You learn that you don't know everything, it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you begin to relearn about love. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them to be. You learn that alone does not necessarily mean lonely.

You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO.

You learn that your body really is your temple. You begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear and depression so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our souls. So you take more time to laugh and PLAY.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you TRULY BELIEVE you deserve, and that much of life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working towards making it happen.

Most importantly, you learn that in order to really "move on" you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone, and that it's OK to risk asking for help, whether it is from a friend or a professional.

You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it under a cloud of impending doom, gloom and sadness.

You finally ACTUALLY learn that life isn't always fair - you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes-bad things happen to good people ... and more importantly, you learn not to always take it personally.

You learn that nobody punished you and everything isn't always "somebody's" fault. It's just life happening.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison your whole world.

You learn to be thankful and take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted - things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about - a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Then, you begin to take some responsibility for yourself and by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself again and to never, ever settle for less than your heart's desire.

You make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart, you take a stand, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can

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Comment by Celeste3 on May 22, 2020 at 1:26pm

Thank your sharing this, only a year for me and I am all over the place , love this post.

Comment by Freebird on November 27, 2019 at 6:55pm

This is marvelous. Thank you. I just passed the 15 year mark in October. I was surprised at how hard "another number of years" hit me. I'm back on track again. We all have those moments.

Comment by kln82 on April 10, 2017 at 5:40pm

I love this . The words are so true. Thanks.

Comment by Patience on December 17, 2016 at 5:56pm
Love this, Paula. Thank you!!
Comment by dublin53 on November 23, 2016 at 11:15am

I have also seen this before but the timing of seeing it today is just what i needed. Thank you.

Comment by dublin53 on November 23, 2016 at 11:13am

Comment by Bundles549 on October 14, 2016 at 8:40am
It's only been a year for me. Reading this makes me feel so hopeful, like there is a point to this journey that I wasn't expecting to be on. That something beautiful can come from it after all.
Comment by chef (John) on October 14, 2016 at 8:14am

I've seen this posted on other web sites and am glad that it's posted here too. It should have a link on the front page for everyone who is new to our experience, or even six months, one or two years out. It's been up for over a year, but this is the first time I'm seeing it.

It's just so true.

Comment by G on October 13, 2016 at 9:45pm
Thank you for sharing this it really hit home for me
Comment by tlb1630 on September 7, 2015 at 11:31am

WOW... you are so right on here.  And I do wish the person who wrote this knew or knows how right on they are as well!!!  Here I sit at 4 1/2 years and can truly see and understand every point written in this post!  Right on!!  Always remember that we were left to LIVE LIFE not to live as we died too!  My heart goes out to all new and recent grievers... believe me the best is yet to come...and I'm still hanging on - looking forward to this..Bless you all Teri

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