The most overused statement to anyone who is grieving or going through a difficult time is the comment “Time will heal.”
I do not disagree with the statement. However, the statement is a very passive statement. This comment acts as if time truly is the ultimate healer. What is lost in the message is that when we are grieving/hurt and or lost that we must be active in the healing process. One has a say in how the grieving process will go.
Today marks the second anniversary of my Mother’s death.
For the past few weeks, my body has reminded me of the approaching days. This past Tuesday (the day of the week she died), I awoke at 4:00 am, the exact time she died. it is hard to believe that it has been two years.
Thus, I have been thinking about how we expect time to heal. How exactly does time heal?
I question myself. Have I been grieving properly? Am I healing in the right manner? How much time does it take to say one is properly healed?
Over the past two years, I have attempted to take care of myself. I met with my physician and began to physically care for my body with diet changes and exercise. I also continued with integrative therapies of acupuncture and massage which cared for me emotionally and physically. I’ve been fortunate enough to have professionals and loved ones in my life who allowed me to talk about my family members who have died. I let myself have bad days when I had them.
I have put work into my healing. Time has passed but I have been an active participant.
Just as when one has surgery and is told what they need to do to rehabilitate, the same should be said for the grieving process. A wound will naturally begin to heal but without the proper care, the wound will take longer to heal and perhaps not heal properly. I have often used the metaphor of a wound for grief.
Properly cared for wounds will heal. However, some wounds take longer than others to heal.
I’ve often questioned if being a grief counselor has benefited or harmed my grief journey.
I have the knowledge of what is normal and to be expected. I’ve been a guide on many grief journeys. In many ways I was prepared for my own grief journey. I knew the normalcy of emotions and the struggle. Nonetheless, I had to feel the emotions on my own.
However, I’ve often criticized myself in ways which may have been harsher than someone who did not have my education and experience. I’ve been upset that memories still affected me. I’ve had negative self talk that has stated I shouldn’t be feeling the way I have been feeling. I’ve grown tired of my grief.
My knowledge and experience have not given me more power in healing, simply a different understanding.
As a counselor, I can not make promises to clients. However, in the past I have promised clients if they do the work of grief that in time they will feel less pain. In essence, they will begin to heal.
With the passing of the past two years of time, the acute stages of grief are no longer. Healing has occurred. I am learning to live with my emotional scars.
I continue to miss my Mom. There are moments when I wish I could speak with her or share events. Sometimes the grief triggers hit when I least expect them. However, I realize this is normal. I allow myself to feel how I feel. I sit with the emotions.
Shortly after Mom’s death, one of her friends stated “It never gets easier.”
I immediately disagreed with her. Years of working with grieving individuals had taught me that just because one has lost a loved one, that life can still be good. I believe I responded ” I know that it does.”
I can tell you that time does heal. However, we must be active in the process. Time is going to pass but we should do what we can to help it.
Time doesn’t heal. It is what we do with it.