Acceptance is the fifth and final stage of divorce grief. From here, anything is possible!
Recovery from divorce includes five stages of grief that most of us will pass through before overcoming the event. In past articles, I have discussed the first four stages: denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. Each of us who experiences divorce will spend time in each phase for the duration of time we need before being ready to move on to the next. Some of us will need to re-visit some of the steps or spend longer on some than others. It’s a completely personal experience!
The final stage of grief in the recovery process is acceptance.
In this conclusion to the emotional gauntlet we’ve endured, we come to complete tolerance of our situation and the fact that it is, without doubt, the reality of our life.
There’s no longer any need to bury our head in the sand and wish it all away.
No sense in shaking our fist in anger about it.
No satisfaction to be gained from begging and pleading for things to be different.
The crying and raw pain have passed.
It is what it is, like it or not.
The fortunate thing about reaching the state of acceptance is that coming to terms with reality, even if it’s not what we chose or hoped for, is no longer something that brings negative feelings welling to the surface. In fact, to reach acceptance, we must have come to peace with our divorce. Most likely, by now, we are able to recognize the potential for happiness to be part of our life again!
Good things await just beyond the summit of acceptance! The stages of grief serve as milestones along our journey from destruction to wholeness. We have to progress through each state of mind in order to ease through the shock, pain, betrayal, hopelessness, and every other thing we feel along the way. The path can be torturous, at times, but the combined effect of all steps re-builds us and prepares us for what’s yet to come!
So much about our life has changed because of divorce.
We may live somewhere new, follow a visitation schedule for our children, and so much more. These transitions would be too much to bear in one quick step. As aspects of our life adjusted to our major life change, so too did our whole mentality about our routines, relationships, and options for the future.
We were once a happy bride, planning a life with the one we loved, then everything fell apart! As tragic as the failure of our marriage is, the fact that we encountered divorce means that our vision of bliss wasn’t all we believed it to be, for any number of reasons. Suffering through grief has forced us to say goodbye to the dream we once had, come to know that fact as truth, and begin to develop a new vision for ourselves.
The future may not hold anything that we would have ever imagined before being pulled into divorce grief; but, that does not mean that it can’t contain even better, happier prospects! Of course, we will endure adversity and pain. Divorce is never a pretty situation, no matter how it’s presented to us. However, adversity is like a fire that strengthens, sharpens, and provides focus.
Divorce is one of those times when something very ugly must first occur before new life and beauty can thrive. Similar to the way a forest fire consumes every living thing in its path, only to enrich the soil and make it possible for the emergence of bigger and better things, divorce clears a path through every aspect of our life. Ugliness and destruction must come before the sun can rise again.
And now, the sun is out again. Potential is delivered into our hands in the form of a blank slate that is all ours to write our future on. We couldn’t be the person we are today without the scars and wisdom earned in battle through the stages of divorce grief. As the warmth of the sun bathes us in its glow the question becomes: “if I can survive divorce, what can’t I do?”