Written by Tamsyn Wood
Tamsyn Wood was living the dream until her husband suffered a severe head injury that left him in need of 24/7 care. Today, she resides in North Devon, England, where she is raising four children single-handedly, caring for her husband, and blogging to help others who have experienced trauma and loss find joy and happiness. You can read more from Tamsyn on her blog or follow her on Instagram.
Moving on as a term is a big no-no for me. I feel like screaming each time I hear people say, “but you have to move on.”
No. You don’t. (Please note, I know you mean well when you say this.)
You move with it, alongside it, through it. You move forward. You don’t move on in the sense that it gets left behind. Actually, moving on, for me, has connotations of forgetting and pretending and faking it. Moving forward, however, I like.
Moving forward is a turn of phrase I use often. I feel it offers a more apt explanation involving movement, a phrase in motion, not a stark cold on.
Moving forward is something you actually have no choice over, and this is a hidden blessing. Time propels you in the direction of forwards, life sweeps you along accordingly. Our thoughts move, our minds succumb to adaptation… eventually.
Stagnating is not an option.
Even if you rest there in sad thought, broken-hearted, mourning for a time, the forward’s motion of life will bring you with it.
Sometimes this can feel violent, an intrusion on your timings of processing things. (I’m not ready!’) Your conscious mind protests — but your subconscious knows the way, and trusting the motion of life will carry with it quiet promises of hope.
In the early days of Alex’s accident, I clung to hope with a diligence I didn’t know I possessed.
Looking back, I understand why I did: the reality of listening to the doctors, neurosurgeons, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, carers, CCG, care home staff, etc., meant I would have to face the fact he wasn’t coming back, and this, I could not face — until this something-I-couldn’t-face clambered up and overtook me several years later, when the elastic band of hope of his return that I was holding steadfastly onto, snapped abruptly.
That indescribable pain.
I remember the day vividly. I had taken the children to the beach after visiting Alex on our 10 year wedding anniversary. As I unpacked the picnic, lit the fire to cook up sausages for my babies, I see a surfer in the distance.
For a second my mind plays a trick on me – it’s him. Of course, it is. I knew he would be back.
Then, as though someone wrenched simultaneously from me my heart and stomach, I double up, creased over in unbearable pain. Of course, this wasn’t him. What was wrong with me? And Tamsyn, he’s not coming back.
As I type these words, tears escape as I still recognize and have to face the reality of these words every day now, as I will for the rest of my life.
I let go of my hope. It fled, and laid me bared open.
Facing my ultimate terror. Yet I had faced it, full-frontal. No going back, no excuses, I faced it. I then allowed myself to go through what I had so desperately fought to ignore.
I am not going to pretend it was easy or pretty. Or that it is over even now. But knowing I was holding reality in my hands meant I could move forward.
Ultimately, that’s where this life takes you if you want it to or not, so you might as well allow it, for in resistance comes such a fear of how the acceptance of your new reality will be.
It was as terrifying to face as I had dared to imagine, but what I had failed to recognize and imagine in this, is that even the unbearable truth of Alex not coming back, I would get through. And I continue to face this head on.
The face gets good at hiding the heart, I have been quoted saying. And although this is true, through acceptance, what emerged in me was a capacity to love that grew. My soul appreciated on an even deeper level my children and those around me. I found a depth within me that, through my fragility and the acknowledgment therein, enabled me to be more.
Accept, move forward, grow, love and consequently, heal.
(This article was originally published on November 13, 2019, at feedmebeautiful.com)
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