Moving forward but never moving on

Nothing I do will bring my husband back. When he first died, I pleaded with God to rewind time and bring him back. I knew that was not going to happen but my pain was so intense I was hoping that God would make an exception and do it for me. But since my husband is not coming back I am left with a choice- do I sit around wishing him back or do I move forward with life?

I choose to move forward.

There are many books and articles on grief. I have read (and enjoyed) a lot of them. The problem is we live in a how-to society. And so when it comes to grieving we want to know how we are supposed to grieve. The same can be said for moving forward.  We want to know what is the right way to move forward.
I don't believe there is one way to move forward.

For me moving forward means accepting that my husband is not coming back. It means, as difficult as it is, to begin dreaming again. It means not staying stuck in the "This is not how life was supposed to turn out" mentality rather say "While this isn't what I planned I accept my new reality." It means creating a life without my husband in it because the alternative of dwelling in the past and moving forward is unhealthy.

Some people are afraid that other's will take moving forward as moving on.

I am not sure what it is about widowhood (and more specifically young widowhood) but everyone has an opinion (and judgement) on how a widow is supposed to grieve. The things that people say (and even just think) about how a widow moves forward are things they would never say to others grieving. Moving forward does not mean you have moved on.  I don't even know what moving on means but in our society it has a bad connotation. Moving forward is healthy. Moving forward is necessary. In our society people will pass judgement and tell a grieving widow that they have moved on too quickly. It is never too soon to begin moving forward. A grieving widow can make the choice days after their spouse passes away to begin moving forward.

When it comes to moving forward there are some who will question the love you had for your spouse.  Ignore them!

If a parent chooses to go on vacation after the loss of a child no one would tell them they must not miss their child anymore. Nor would they tell a grieving sibling who plans a wedding after their sibling dies that they must not have loved their brother/sister. And no one would tell a child celebrating their acceptance to a college that they must not have loved their parent. Yet when it comes to widows people say some cruel things. There are tangible ways to move forward and in our society people will question the love a widow had for their spouse when they begin to take the tangible steps in moving forward. They will pass judgement when a widow begins to take clothes down from their closet. They will say one has moved on too quickly if they sell their home within the first year after the death of a spouse. They will talk about and criticize a widow when they begin dating again. They will say that a widow must not be hurting if they see pictures of them on vacation smiling and having a good time.

Moving forward does not mean you are not in pain and it absolutely doesn't mean you don't still love your spouse

Pain and joy will live in the house of a widow for a long time. No one will see the nights you spend crying. No one may understand the brokenness of your heart. There is no greater intimacy than the intimacy that spouses have with one another. There is no one who knew me better than my husband. I could let my guard down and take down the walls. When it comes to marriage you expose yourself with your spouse in a way you don't with other people. Every dream and desire one has for the future involves their spouse. Moving forward does not mean you don't love your spouse anymore. Years from now, it will still hurt that my husband died because he was the love of my life.

I choose to move forward

Moving forward is healthy. It is necessary. Healing comes from moving forward. Peace and joy returns when one decides they are going to move forward. You may not like your new reality but moving forward indicates an acceptance of your new reality. Moving forward for you may look very different than moving forward for me. Moving forward can, but doesn't necessarily mean, taking the clothes down, selling the house, going on vacations and begin dating. A person can move forward and chose not to do those things though. The clothes may hang in the closet for years. A person may decide they are going to remain single. The house may remain with the same d├ęcor and arrangement. And that doesn't mean one hasn't moved forward.  It is the intangible things, like accepting the new reality and dreaming again that are important. The tangible things will vary. There will still be nights of tears. There will still be days of pain. But there is life in moving forward. There is hope in moving forward.