Don’t Tell Me That Time Fucking Heals

Maybe it does maybe it doesn’t… but this statement has been thrown upon me from various well-meaning sources for a good number of years. It was particularly present over the year that both my parents passed. It was a statement that I feel now comforted the other rather than me, as if to say… things will get better, it won’t always be this shit.

As I have often ranted and raved about, we as a culture are often not great at talking about the subject of death, grief, or even loss. And I think this is one of those statements that may have derived from our difficulty in really opening up discussions around death and grief.  Instead I feel this statement shuts those conversations down; and is a way instead to slightly acknowledge what’s happened but also say… Don’t worry, time will heal your pain and everything will be rosy.

From my experience… It won’t be bloody rosy. Grief is often a difficult and unpredictable path and for me, time won’t ever truly heal the unimaginable pain that wrenches deep inside of me. The once open wound of grief and loss, may have scabbed over, perhaps even scarred in places. But it’s still there, present as ever, a constant reminder of what you experienced. My body won’t let me forget it.

In some ways I get it. I understand why people say it, and yes time to an extent does heal, but as time passes you continue to experience your set of firsts…

Your first Christmas with just you and your brother at home

Your first birthday without your parents

The first time you receive your exam results and you have no one to call and tell.

The first time you break down in your car and you would normally call your dad but you can’t.

The first time you use the words ‘my mum was’.. Instead of ‘my mum is..’

The list sadly goes on…

And yes these first times get more spread out. But ten years on I am still experiencing a first time without my parents..

For example, I’m due my first child. It breaks my heart knowing that my parents will never be able to meet their grandchild, that my mum can’t support me throughout the pregnancy and birth, that they can’t enjoy the delights of being grandparents. The loss of my parents is constantly being rolled out again and again but just in different ways.

So yes time can provide a space of healing. But time can also bring up experiences that highlight your loss. That bring it to the forefront of your mind and take you back to that painful place that for me can be just as painful as it was the day they died.

So perhaps instead of saying time heals.. Instead acknowledge what’s happened, put it out there, acknowledge some of the various emotions I may or may not be feeling, and offer me the time to talk about if I want.

Death, grief, loss affects every individual differently so let’s not have one blanket statement. Let’s talk about death and grief, let’s open the door to conversations and let’s not hide behind clichés.

 

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