Does Time Heal Grief?
I want to expose the elephant in the room and cut to the chase by asking the question - does time heal when we are grieving? If I allow enough time will all my sorrow, pain and heartache disappear? Answer - a succinct “NO.”
If time heals, then how much time is enough? One year? Two years? Ten years? Unfortunately, it is time to tell those of you who are mourning some devastating loss in life that the cliché that time heals all wounds is a fallacy. It is a complete falsehood and a myth that has misguided hurting people and disillusioned them even more. This false sense of hope, of a light at the end of a tunnel only leads to more anguish and distress. It builds a false expectation, that in due course you will feel normal again and regain the life you had prior to the loss, because time will take away your pain. Essentially, something as ethereal as time can heal squat. Without some “action” to the pain, the grief will continue or worsen.
Something, especially loss doesn’t improve or heal with time. It’s like saying “I will be a better artist if I wait and give it time.” It simply won’t happen unless you take out the paints and brush and do something. It’s like that with loss. Reparative action needs to be taken in the form of tiny steps in the direction of healing and wholeness. We will only elude ourselves if we wait for the ethereal “time” to heal our aching soul.
However, let me take a step back and say that I recognise, and in no shape or form do I invalidate the early, agonising stages of grief. These reactions and stages vary immensely for everyone. When we finally start to adapt to life after loss, it doesn’t mean time has healed us. It simply means we are adjusting to the new dynamics in our life. We may be adjusting, but the pain of loss is ever-present.
Activating steps toward healing propel us in the direction of learning to live and enjoy certain aspects of life again, without feeling guilty or sad. Initially after significant loss it is common to feel a sense of guilt when you smile or laugh again. I remember bursting into tears when I was out with friends and laughed out loud. I shocked myself because up until that point, I felt I shouldn’t experience joy again, because my daughter who had been murdered was not around to enjoy her life.
Usually, after loss of any kind, there is a lot of unfinished business that require our attention, emotionally, physically, spiritually and often financially especially if the loss is of a loved one. Unless steps are taken to address and amend each area, they will stagnate and cause much anxiety and disillusionment. You may need to enlist professionals in some areas or ask for advice for the journey. Death, divorce or financial loss will require legal or professional advice or consultation. I required much help from my accountant to help in the financial sector and attended a health retreat because my nervous and immune systems had taken such a battering after the added trauma of my husband and grand-daughter both being killed in a freak plane crash. Don’t try to be superhuman and do things on your own whilst you are in a state of grief and confusion. You will be deceived into thinking you are okay and can cope, but the reality is, your focus is way off base and your stability is very shaky after any type of loss because what was is no more. Life has changed. Decision making is precarious and should be avoided after your life is turned upside down. One wrong decision can result in many a sleepless night going over the “what ifs” that are futile and will rob not only your sleep but your health as well.
It is clearly apparent with the repercussions of loss, the passing of time cannot heal your soul. Action taken to work through the pain will help to alleviate the symptoms.
To clarify again, “time” itself, does not heal a griever.
Thank you for reading.