You’ve probably heard it said many times before: time heals all wounds.
But does it, really?
For me and I’m sure for many of you, it’s just not true.
Time seems to heal over like scar tissue over time. It also “heals” the constant excruciating pain and seems to lessen as time passes, but the wounds are still there.
The pain is different, but it didn’t go away.
I’ve recently lost several family members to cancer. Not several, but all of them, my mom, my dad and my sister.
My mom died of breast cancer that moved into her lungs. My sister Cindy, died of bladder cancer. My dad died of skin cancer that metastasized to his brain.
Granted, this probably isn’t the norm for most of us, although I would feel comfortable saying many of us are experiencing high volumes of loss with COVID-19, political pain and racial strife all at the same time.
For me, though, I’ve discovered that time passes regardless if I choose to move through grief or not.
With that said, dealing with grief takes courage more than it takes time.
It takes courage:
-To Cry. Crying sucks. Sometimes it feels like I will never stop crying. But when I let myself cry, I discover that the grief subsides, it truly does come in waves. When I let it come, it moves through me rather than sitting there taking my breath away.
-To Yearn. Yearning for more time with my sister in her sunflower garden, yearning to hear my mother’s infectious laugh and her long list of home remedies for whatever ailment I’ve come down with, yearning for my dad to say he’s proud of me one more time. The yearning is an unbearable ache that seems to only have moments of reprieve.
-To Laugh. Laughing about beautiful memories is sometimes guilt-inducing. The last year of my mom’s life was filled with laughter (and everything else, of course). And now, it comes down to: what right do I have to laugh when my entire family has died of cancer? What right do I have to go on and enjoy my life without them?
I’ve come to the conclusion that what right do I have NOT to. My family would only want me to be happy and life to the fullest. To dare to be happy, now that takes courage.
It also takes courage to be real. “Real” is about embracing it all: the pain, the joy, the disappointment, the silliness, the morbid sense of humor, the anger, the shame, the loneliness.
And this applies to all of us. We all have stuff we’re dealing with such as:
-losing a job and not sure what’s going to happen next.
-being scared as a single mother and not sure how you’ll make ends meet.
-watching the racial landscape and feeling high distress around systemic racism.
-wondering if this next generation will get the education that they really need.
-deeply concerned about our culture’s inability to come together in politics.
And the list goes on, right?
Maybe what we do with “time” is what makes us human after all. And maybe, it’s love, not time, that heals all wounds.
What do you think?