Those of us who grieve the loss of someone we dearly loved are often reassured by others that “time heals all wounds.” Our own life experience speaks to the truth of that statement, yet there are things to consider and validate. First and foremost, we know of course that time itself does not heal but rather what goes on during this time and what we choose to do with this time is the real healing agent.
I think back to all the times I climbed into my empty bed and cried myself to sleep, all the times I chose to respond to my family’s needs by going out and purchasing groceries by myself, all the times I did not shy away from an invitation to meet for a coffee with a friend, all the times I accepted the challenge of attending a family gathering knowing that it would feel odd not to be a couple, and all the times of finding my way in the world of single parenting … all these painful experiences are actually healing agents.
Grief brought me to the edge of a large, seemingly bottomless pit. Many times I thought I would fall into it, not knowing if I could ever climb back out. Gradually, I began filling the pit with boulders of first time experiences thinking I was without Bill at my side. As I rolled each boulders of firsts into it, I watched each one fall, and I realized that I was still standing there; I did not fall, I had lived through it. The next time I re-lived each experience, there was no struggle to roll the experience to the edge and push it over; it was now but a large stone that I could toss. Bit by painful bit, I have rolled my boulders of firsts and tossed my stones into the pit, and I can now see it filling; I am no longer afraid of healing. Grass is now beginning to grow by this pit and occasionally I spot a flower or two; I now know that healing does not mean forgetting.
On the subject of “time heals all wounds,” I once expected that just time itself would facilitate the healing, that with each day I would feel a little less pain and ultimately with enough time I would “heal”. I now see this very differently. I now see time as opportunity, a chance to face the challenge and the very real effort to roll each boulder of firsts to this pit and shove it over the edge. Opportunity to do it all over again and again and each time the challenge becomes smaller, lighter. Some of these are now small pebbles easily tossed without fear of falling in At times I walk away from the edge exhausted, emotions raw, knowing that there will be more firsts and more repeats. At the end of each journey to my pit it no longer matters what path I took, the time it took to get there or what anyone else thought about how I should heal or when. I walk away knowing that I can face it again tomorrow.
I have no roadmap on this journey with grief. I am simply a survivor who faces her loss, armed with love and hope for the day when my pit will be a place of beauty. A place where my heart will want to go to sit from time to time, with Bill at my side, to remember the faith, strength, and hard work needed to make it a place of comfort; where, in time, I will feel whole again.
To connect more with Ginette you can read her blog at bforever-awidowsperspective.blogspot.com/