From Loss to LiberationJan 17, 2024
“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose, for all that we love becomes a part of us" - Helen Keller
These words deeply reflect how I feel about the last stage of the grief cycle, Acceptance.
Acceptance does not come easy. It is through navigating the depths of our experiences that we arrive there. It is not passive resignation. It signifies a return to universal wisdom, a realization that, despite our efforts, there are aspects of life beyond our control. We are intricately intertwined with the undeniable facts of existence. In embracing acceptance, I have found not only solace but a profound transformation. It is through acceptance that we integrate our losses into the tapestry of our being.
Reflecting on my own near-death experience and the subsequent years on life support while awaiting a heart transplant, followed by the intense process of rebuilding post-transplant, I could have been entangled in the earlier stages of grief (anger, bargaining, depression). However, I eventually chose to accept my circumstances. This choice allowed me to radically live in the present, fully embracing life despite the impossibility of returning to my old self. It has been nearly 14 years since that pivotal moment, and acceptance has been one of my greatest teachers.
Acknowledging this does not mean I do not find myself, at times, moving through various stages of grief. However, acceptance remains my guiding light because it holds the liberating power to transcend the weight of loss.
As we conclude this cycle, let this journey through grief stand as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. A spirit capable of finding strength and growth even in the face of profound loss. May it inspire compassion and understanding, fostering a space where healing can flourish. Grief unites us and it is not a linear journey. We are all moving through one of the stages at any given time. Be kind to yourself and others. You never know where someone is in their healing.