Yet Another Type of Acceptance in the Mirror

There must be many more types of acceptance than I previously thought. I have written about two that were similar yet different. This one is different as well. This acceptance has to do with myself. More specifically how I am dealing with the death of my husband. How I am moving or not moving forward. How slow or fast this process is. How much I should rush myself and how much I should slow down. How I intend to do these things. How I am accepting everything. But I am not talking of just my acceptance, I am also talking about the acceptance or nonacceptance of others that makes this unasked for journey I am on much harder. I normally do not care what others think of me, but this is not only about me, it is about how I am dealing with the death of my husband and how it is perceived, accepted or not accepted.

It seems many want to give me their opinion on how I should be dealing with all that has happened. I am not allowing visitors, but I did allow two family members to visit during November and then December, each time for only a few days. As far as most that know me, including the two I let visit, they can only guess how I feel and am dealing from phone calls. I try to sound upbeat on the phone. I tried to be upbeat during those two visits. If I were to sound sad or show sadness it would only make others feel badly for me as none live close by. They would want to be near to cheer me up. I would not want that even if they did live close by. I put makeup on during the visits, part of the makeup was not actual makeup, rather it was to appear as if I am happy, a smile on my face, standing tall, head held high. I think I have fooled them as they think I am doing better than expected. I do something similar with phone calls, act as if everything is fine, joke about things, when a sad subject is brought up I think of other things in my mind so I do not sound sad. Once again I think this has worked as if these people thought I were not doing well, they would drive to see me, try to help me heal, which is not what I want. This is a journey or drive I must do on my own. I need to come out of this knowing I have done all I could to become whomever I turn out to be, my new self. I do not want the mirror to reflect what others want me to be, rather it should reflect who I have become. Now on to this different acceptance.

There are varying opinions on how I should be moving forward. It seems that to some, my behavior is accepted as normal after the death of a spouse. In some ways these people who accept what I am going through make it hard for me to push myself to move forward. If I tell them a little of how I am feeling (not mentioning panic attacks or anything other than my life without my husband), they immediately tell me I need more time. They tell me to take all the time I need to mourn, not to rush myself. That I will know when I am ready to move on. They know all I have been through. They know how taking care of my husband was a 24 hour a day job, with little if any time left for myself. They know that though I knew my husband’s death was inevitable, it was still a shock and I am now left alone. They are kind and caring in telling me how it will take time to get used to a life without my husband. They accept me.

I have a different group of people who think I have spent too much time mourning and should already have moved on with my life. They do not accept that it should take time to mourn and learn to live a life alone. Much as with those who accept my not moving forward make it hard, these people who do not accept my mourning make it harder. They do not accept the fact that I have not moved forward, they want to tell me how far I should be by now. These people seem to have a cold, uncaring attitude, as though my life with my husband should just be thrown out and it is easy to start over. No matter what I say they do not accept it. Instead I get lectures or examples of people they know who had a death of a spouse and were out and about, happy a week or two after their spouse’s death. I wonder how these examples of people who are thrown in my face truly felt about their spouses. If their spouse meant that much, how can it be so easy to forget them? Maybe they do not forget, just move forward and not think. I then wonder how they think by telling me of someone who has moved on will help me. It does not, it is hurtful to hear these things. It makes me feel less of myself that these people do not accept how hard this is for me. It also makes me wonder if I am taking too long to learn to live without my husband.

This acceptance is different from wanting acceptance of others. It is wanting acceptance from myself. By having two groups of people with different opinions of me, it makes it harder for me to accept that I am having a harder time then I tell others. With the group that do not accept, if I tell them something honest, that makes me sad, they tell me I am being dramatic, looking for pity. I have already said I do not want to be pitied. By telling this group anything I am just trying to buy myself time. Time to move forward without facing their nonacceptance. I need to stop telling this group of people anything, but that is really not an option. If it were possible I would cut these people out of my life for now, if not forever. I do not need to be judged every step of the way towards my new life alone. I am not a suicidal person, if I were this group would surely drive me to the thought of ending it all. I have been tempted to tell one of them on countless occasions that I am ready to give up and join my husband in death, but I know this is not true and this person probably does not care as much as they say. Or they would hear it as my looking for pity. I have to learn to accept this group as they will be in my life for the foreseeable future. Whether they accept how I am dealing has to be their problem. I need to accept this and just work on myself.

It has been a little over six months and though I have made progress, I feel as if I have not made enough. But then I ask myself, just how much is enough? I know there are more areas to work on. I know that neither group of people listed above are really my main problem. I know it adds to my problems, but it is not the cause. I am learning a lot about myself I thought I already knew in looking at what the mirror reflects. I need to keep learning. I also need to go back to the person I have always been, the one who does not care what others think of me. I need to accept myself for who I am. As for the others, it is their problem if the cannot accept any part of what I am going through. Most of all I need to accept that however fast or slow I move forward is acceptable, as long as I am moving forward.

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