Time Alone Does Not Heal Grief…
May 7, 2010 in Acceptance, Balance, Career Coaching, Communication, Compassion, Grief, Healing, Knowledge, Love, Motivation, Perception, Purpose, Rainbow Bridge Coaching and Healing, Spiritual Connection, Thought, Understanding, Wisdom
Immediately after I found out my son had been murdered people starting telling me “time heals all wounds”. I am sure they told me this because they wanted to say something to make me feel better or because they had heard the phrase before and it seemed to fit or because they did not know what else to say. I can honestly say that at first when you lose a child it seems like time is the enemy. The impossibly long harrowing days blended into even longer agonizing nights of pain, loneliness and confusion make one wish that time could be stopped and even better reversed to a point when your child was still happy and with you. Then there is the sudden realization that now that your child has died you will never see him on this earth again. That all you really have to hold onto if you are religious or spiritual is that you will eventually be together again but you also soon realize that it will be a long time in coming and in another place. And that thought puts you at odds with time as well!
What I did find out about time and healing is that although time moves along it alone does not heal. Healing is an active process not a passive one. When you have a wound and do not care for it properly, although it may scab over it often gets infected underneath, takes longer to heal and leaves a scar.
When we lose a child we feel as though our heart and mind and very soul have been mortally wounded. We eventually seem to heal up but if we have not cared for those wounds properly while healing then they too merely scab over closing off the infection beneath which greatly lengthens the healing process experts say and can take according to (Time Magazine July, 1985) 5 to 8 years to recover. Most generally as well this too can leave a bad scar.
The basic definition of to heal means to make whole again. When we become sick something or someone has affected our wholeness. To get back to wholeness we must either eliminate the thing that is affecting our wholeness as in taking antibiotics for strep say or we must integrate it so that we no longer see it as a threat. Once we can do that it no longer has the same impact and we are free to heal and move on.
A common factor among many grieving parents I found is that once they were able to create a shift in thinking and acceptance as if they had chosen their loss themselves they were free to move forward again into happiness. And although not easy to do even when guided by a grief recovery coach or other professional this was necessary to help them heal.
Healing is thought of as a spiritual idea where as curing is a medical concept. That is why it is an active process that we must participate in, it does not happen to us as in curing by a doctor. As in the saying “Physician heal thyself” we must be active in order to heal from the wounds of child loss. To do that we learn how to stay open and accepting the very thing that wounded us.
In Lamaze classes I learned to embrace the pains of childbirth and relax through them as I was taught to view them as completely normal and natural physical and emotional responses to the birth of one’s baby. In doing so I was able to endure up to 20 hours of labor followed by delivery of a healthy baby together with a few stitches of some slightly torn tissue. All this with no medication of any kind nor an episiotomy. And I went home the next day!
Lamaze as well as chronic pain management teaches one not to tighten up around the pain but to relax and allow the pain to be present. The idea taught is that when pain is resisted it intensifies but when we relax and accept it, it can move and flow through us easier. Pain is merely an alert that something is wrong whether it be something physical, emotional, spiritual or mental and all we need do is listen. To relax and breath through it. We do not want to fight it but learn from it.
Time alone does not heal but healing takes time. To be healed we can give ourselves the time we each need to open to the pain and open to the loss. As we do this we grow as we include more of what life holds. We include what would have been lost to us if our hearts and minds had closed against the pain. We include what would have been lost if we had not taken the time we needed to work at the healing we needed all along.
Peace & Light,
Certified From Heartbreak to Happiness Coach
“Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself?”