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The meaning of acceptance when dealing with grief

Anniversaries can sneak up on us, leaving a feeling of loss, a sense of something really not right, sorrow or maybe irritation. My father took his next assignment on March 31, 2013.

For days I’ve been thinking of him, reviewing the long days of his last days, remembering the sound of his laughter which is no longer easy. Rummaging through papers and military records, remembering his love of adventure and how the military gave him that.

Still, it caught me by surprise that this time is an echo of THAT time. I miss him still. Who among us hasn’t lost someone and doesn’t miss them? That loss began a cascade of losses. It happens like that sometimes.

Loss isn’t easy. I know, mastering the obvious.

Loss is universal.

Loss sucks.

There are some tricks we can use to sometimes make loss a bit easier to bear. Nonetheless, loss is not easy to bear. Accepting that, being with that, gently supporting ourselves as we bear the unbearable with as much self-compassion and kindness as we can muster helps a bit.

For me, the loss is no longer acute. It’s softened into the tender feeling of our shared love with a bit of sorrow. I miss my dad today. I know I’m not alone in this missing. Grief is the great leveler. None of us escape it.

Acceptance. Here we are again. Acceptance doesn’t mean liking or approving. I don’t. I neither like grief nor approve of it. That doesn’t matter. I don’t have to. Today, again, and not for the last time, I lean into acceptance of my experience of grief today in 2019, six years later. I miss him still.

I lean into acceptance with the remembrance of other grieving hearts. I lean into acceptance without the inhibition of self-judgment, self-criticism and self-evaluation.

Even though I’m grieving, I love and accept myself.