They say time heals all wounds… and to a degree they’re right. But there needs to be some clarification on what “heals” actually means in different situations. For a minor slight or upset, I believe we do heal completely, in time. We truly are able to set down that incident and leave it behind us as we continue our journey.
But for something major, like the loss of a loved one, I’m learning that the best “healing” one can hope for is that the muscles we use to carry our grief merely strengthen over time.
We no longer wake each morning with the ache of over-exertion. We no longer get two-thirds through our day and feel we cannot go on. This does not mean that our grief is any less. It does not mean that what started as a crushing weight of trauma has gone away. We have simply become better at carrying it.
And because that grief is still very much with us, there are days when the ache creeps back. When the weight does feel too heavy to carry on. I’ve been taught that this will probably never change. Thankfully I’ve also been taught how to stop my despair at this knowledge. To remind myself that tomorrow will be easier again. That friends, or family, or music, or exercise can also help bring a lightness to my burden. I don’t necessarily need to discuss it, thankfully. I’ve simply learned what to surround myself with in order to feel strong again.
Most days, like today, I can’t even tell you why the burden is suddenly heavier again – there has been no conscious trigger. And most of those days I won’t tell you that it’s heavier either. It’s awful enough that I have to carry this – I certainly don’t want to risk making anyone else carry it. In fact, many of us will probably go to great lengths to ensure that those we care about don’t ever feel this ache.
But it is still there. It is always there. And it always will be there. But thankfully so are the lighter days…