“At some point you just have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening.” – Heather Hepler

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When grief hits, all control flies out the window.  When my husband died suddenly in my arms, I was tossed into an ocean of grief with swells so high, I couldn’t get my breath.  Life as I knew it was over.  I began doubting everything in my world.  Where once I was in control, now I was totally at sea. I couldn’t reach a panic button to reset.  I became a helpless, vulnerable heap of frenzied feelings and emotions shattering my world to its core. 

I must own up to being a bit of control freak, which makes my grief so excruciating.  When you can’t control your life, you flail and thrash about and look for lifelines and safety nets to grab onto for support.  As I floundered aimlessly around, I found the strength to get my bearings.  How was I going to cope with the swells of grief that overtook me at every turn?  The negative emotions surrounding my loss of control were pulling me down into the depths of an emotional sea and I couldn’t swim to the top.  I had to find my way through the pain of grief and gain some footing so I could float again.

My support system of friends was my first line of defense.  They helped me to stand up again.  They fed my heart and my body, and hovered around me helping me to stand upright and move forward.  They helped me with counselors and grief support centers and taught me that I could indeed function alone but with lots of help.  One friend even took me to get a tattoo on my wrist where I could touch, feel, and remember Peter. 

With the help of my friends, I learned that not only could I be alone, but I could function admirably.  The more I performed on my own, the stronger my self-confidence became.  The more I wrote about grief online, the more I felt I was a person of value again.  I built up strength and developed resilience. I began to enjoy my time alone.  I was married for 47 years so this was the first time in many, many moons that I was functioning solo.  It was a new experience but fraught with fears and stumbling blocks. 

As I grew stronger and time passed, I began to see the benefits in surrender.  I am not talking about the woo-woo meditative surrender which was hard for me to fathom.  I began to surrender to grief and let go of my controlling nature. I surrendered to the fact that even in this dire situation, I could surrender and allow myself to see that I would learn from this tragedy.  By surrendering, I had the innate belief that I could get through this journey.  I no longer strategized my emotions.  I surrendered to the power of grief and my controls fell away in relief.  I knew I could not fix the situation, but by giving in to the grief it was a freeing sensation and I could work through the pain and find some relief.  I learned to live in the now, and more importantly, I cherished the now.  I found joy in the small victories I made.  I no longer sweated the small stuff and began to surrender my power to living in the moment.  OK, I can’t do this every day, but by saying I surrender, I believe that I will truly set myself free!

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