Time heals all wounds.
The message has been passed down for centuries, used in memes, mimes, and has come out of many mouths from those who wish to offer another person encouragement and support.
For some of us, this expression is a beacon of hope that keeps us clinging to life, maybe even getting out of bed or putting one proverbial foot in front of the other, day in and day out.
For others, it is a razor-sharp knife that taunts our every, excruciatingly eternal, waking moment. Time… Minutes. Hours. Days. Months. Years… How can something as abstract as Time possibly cure anything?
Your pain lingers. Your tears flow. Your heart aches for what was, fears what is, and cannot begin to imagine what might be.
Time. PUH!, you say. The ticking hands on a clock cannot repair my broken relationships; they cannot bring back the dead, fill the financial void since losing my job, cure the physical or mental conditions from which I suffer, or replace everything I lost to disaster.
True, Neighbor. It is all true.
That said, I’d like to share something I have learned about Time in the three decades since my son died from unexpected delivery complications. It is not Time that heals our wounds, but We—You and Me and Them, all of us who grieve a loss—it is We who heal our own wounds with Time.
How much time? How long will I feel this way? When will the pain stop?
These are but a few of the pleas we shout to the rooftops; we beg of our counselors, family, and friends; and questions that rattle endlessly within our heads and our hearts.
Your time, Neighbor. In your own time.
Time is what affords you experiences, conversations, and AHA! moments that will help you find resolution in each of the conflicts that comprise your grief…questions and uncertainties that may encompass every part of your being, impacting the facets that are your academic, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual Self.
I can honestly stand before you and say that I no longer mourn my son’s death; I celebrate his life. Time, itself did not do that. I did. I was relentless in my pursuit of obtaining answers to my countless questions and I ultimately found a way to accept what I learned, even when the answer was, “Sometimes there are no known reasons.” I sought out counselors who were a good fit for me and friends who were not afraid to listen to me talk about my pain.
There were times when I nourished my body by eating and bathing and there were hours on end where I stayed in bed, and many more where I made myself sick on buckets of peanut butter cup ice cream.
In one epiphany I realized that I am truly not alone in my grief, for commonalities exist no matter the type of loss. In another moment that Time afforded me, I unraveled conflict surrounding religion and my spiritual beliefs, and on several more occasions I expanded upon that healing. One day I came to accept that we change every minute of every day, and on another day, I acknowledged that as we evolve, not everyone in our circle will continue to align with our needs and desires. In a glorious instant, as I sat slumped on the floor next to the toilet, I realized that my bulimia was not only hurting my body, it was one maladaptive and dysfunctional way I was trying to control the life around me that seemed completely out of control.
And in yet another beautiful moment, I came to know this little nugget about Time: It is not Time that heals our wounds, Neighbor, it is You and Me who heal ourselves through the gifts that come in Time. Your Time. My Time.