“What would you do today if you didn’t worry?” When my husband was alive he would ask me this question when my anxiety would get the best of me. When he died, I felt worry lift from my body almost as if he had taken some of my anxiety with him that night as he left us. For months, I figured that his death really was the worst thing that could happen and here I was living to tell the tale. It was strangely freeing. He had given me a gift in his departure. He had taken the “what if he dies fear” with him. He had taken the “what will I do without him” with him leaving me in the moment, walking through and facing my worst fears and anxieties of all, feeling oddly competent and peaceful. Now, I think some of this is normal…the relief – when someone you love has been sick and dies – there is that relief that the suffering has ended. I’m not sure if that was what I was feeling, but I do know that I am not the worrier that I was before he died. I have again been transformed by him, by his death.
Today, I read an email message that I read every week from a lovely woman who channels angel messages. Here’s the link: http://visionsofheaven.com/AAngels/newsletter_2010_0717.html. In the message this week, she speaks of living in the moment and letting go of anxiety. It reminded me of those early moments after Dave died. It reminded me of how my grief really led me to be present in every moment. Grief people talk about “the fog” that we walk in after the death of a loved one…I remember being acutely aware of the moments…can I remember those moments now? No, not really…there is a vacancy, maybe it protects me from the pain…maybe that’s how “the fog” has worked for me.
For the most part, I have been much less anxious than the woman I used to be before he died. Things just don’t take me down, occupy my mind, and create chaos in me like they did before living through this grief. There has been a huge relief for me in the surrendering of my life. I know that I really can’t control most things…hard for a recovering control freak to acknowledge. There is a sense of being in the here and now and letting tomorrow come and trusting that I will deal with it when it arrives. I don’t keep my focus on what might happen tomorrow that much any more. I have survived my husband’s death, I will survive tomorrow. It is liberating. I know through surrender to my greatest fear…losing him…I have become who I am today, a survivor. Now, after five years, I am looking toward thriving, not just being a survivor anymore. My hope is that with my new found liberation I can take on new challenges and day by day take steps toward a life that is joyful and full again…this time without the worry, the anxiety, and the fear. This time with a new appreciation that control is not mine to wield, but surrender, living in the present and gratitude for what I have right now, right this moment is my gift to cherish.
During the last year, letting go of anxiety has allowed me to do some great, almost miraculous things. I left a toxic work environment although I knew that it would be difficult financially. I have learned that through trust, the kindness of others, the ability to ask for help, and perseverance I can survive on very little. I launched this blog and a year later I have been blessed with kind comments, thoughts, and gratitude to be able to help others. It has shown me that following my heart in the moment can make great things happen. Recently I have been given the opportunity to return to my education which gives me great joy and will lead to work that I have found most fulfilling in my life – working with young people. Finally and of greatest growth and importance, I have been given the gift of survival that is transforming into the gift of thriving once again.