My pre-loss self would look at those two phrases and say they mean the same thing. With a whole new perspective on loss, I see definite differences in those two phrases.
Moving on. When I think about moving on from something, I picture traveling down a road carrying baggage. The baggage is heavy. At one point, it's as if I decide to put down the baggage and move on. It's as simple as that ... drop the baggage and move on.
Moving forward. When I think about moving forward, I picture traveling down the same road carrying the same baggage. The baggage is still heavy. While traveling down the road with the baggage, I see a full, bright life ahead of me. I choose to move forward toward that full, bright life carrying the baggage with me.
There have been so many times during this journey when I wanted to drop the grief, with all of its heaviness and sadness, leave it in that moment and move on.
But, I don't want to leave the pain behind me. Losing Steve was by far and away the most tragic experience of my life. In a moment, life was never the same and it will never be the same. However, that experience has shaped the person I am today. There isn't any way I could leave that behind and move on.
The other night, my fiance, Mark, and I saw Garth Brooks in concert. It was an absolutely amazing show! During his performance of one of his well-known songs, "The Dance," I thought about where I am in my life and what's ahead of me.
I hugged Mark a little tighter when I heard the words:
"... For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye
And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance."
No, I couldn't have known what would have happened nearly six years ago. But, I carry all that has happened, the love and the memories with me as I move forward as this new me post loss. It is all part of me as I create my dance, this next chapter of my life with Mark, his son and my children.