Preface: I wrote this to be released in late January, and then for whatever reason, I sat on it. So bear that in mind as you read this. I'm putting it out there for you now. I hope this timing is what is right for you or someone you know and love. Blessings!

So, here I am in between acceptance and coping in my “Coming to Terms with Terminal Illness” class. This past week I taught about acceptance: wishing for miracles and then coming to acceptance. Next I sit down to write the course for this week on Coping and Making the best of it for THEM. Wow, what a surreal place to sit given that I just received news of the passing of a dear family friend.

Here are my thoughts on the whole sh’bang.

She is gone, and I am happy for her and happy for the relatives on the other side who have been waiting for her to join back up with them. She suffered for years with a long-term mind deteriorating illness so I am happy that she is no longer suffering and is now free and at peace.

I’m extremely sad for those of us left behind in her wake. She was such a beautiful, fun and inspiring lady that she will be missed by many. I know that we will all see her surrounding us in the days ahead as she was a wonderful, thoughtful gift giver so we all have treasures that will remind us of her.

I now have to practice what I preach and accept that she is no longer physically here with us. That her amazing smile will only be seen in pictures and in dreams now. I do so hope that she comes to visit us in our dreams. That is such a lovely way to keep in touch with our departed loved ones.

We will all need to accept that our lives have changed. That we cannot bring her back, nor would we if we could as none would want her to suffer any more. We need to accept that this chapter of our lives has ended and we cross into the next one; one where we strap on our brave suits and trudge forward; and where the remembrance of her beauty is what we now have to treasure.

I teach in my class that acceptance has many phases and emotions that you must move through to finally get there. I think that one of the most important lessons of that class is that everyone around you is on an emotional roller coaster ride. Everyone has to go through all of the phases in their own time and in their own way.

When we realize that and come to see it for what it is, it makes it easier to not take other people’s stuff so personally and we can more easily focus on getting ourselves to where we need to be.

The airlines have it right: we need to put our own oxygen mask on first, only then will we be able to save others.

Coming to acceptance means that you have to work through all of the yucky stuff first. You have to face and deal with your emotions and then you can see, when your eyes are clear and the tears are gone, what is really there. You can accept what is real and what is not. You can find your peace and then you are able to help others find theirs.

Here’s hoping we can all find acceptance: of ourselves, of others and of the crazy situations that we are sometimes faced with. When you take that step back and look at it from a better distance you can see that a lot of things really don’t matter in the larger scheme of things. Let’s brush away the ones that really don’t matter and focus on the ones that do. Shall we?!