Even though it’s been twenty-seven years since my firstborn’s arrival into this world, I remember how eternal those weeks following his birth were.
Like many moms do, I swayed in the rocker at the foot of the crib we’d so lovingly adorned the nursery with.
I twisted the dial on the bed chamber’s musical mobile and awaited its soothing melodies.
I scheduled the routine, eight-week, post-surgical follow-up.
And I cried.
And I cried.
And I cried.
Leaving the hospital without the child I’d carried for nine long months was minuscule compared to the life I was going to endure for years to come.
The silence of my thoughts and my home were deafening. Each minute of each day felt like an utterly unbearable eternity. A life sentence of suffering.
All of these memories, now tempered by resolution and healing, returned as I read a social media comment that healing “takes so long,” followed by a broken heart emoji.
You know the expression “Time heals all wounds,” and if you’re like many new grievers, you know how confusing and frustrating that well-intentioned platitude can be.
My husband once shared with me the relativity of Time. When we’re young, each day is a greater percentage of our total days lived, making each day seem much longer. Think back to those younger days when you were counting down the days to summer break, that special vacation, or how grueling those hours were when you were “grounded” or had to wait for anything.
Now consider your grown-up plans and all the times you’ve cried, “How can it be here, already?” Blink and your next birthday is not merely coming up, it is HERE!
As you get older, each day is a smaller percentage of your total life lived, making each day, or year, seem shorter.
Perceived time is relative to life experience
Now, factor in a significant Life Loss or Change.
Your body is constantly in motion, which means you are constantly changing, but conflict and grief tend to escalate the process.
Additionally, when you encounter a major alteration in the way you are accustomed to living, say you lose a job, a limb or a lifestyle, your home, or a loved one to death, disease, disaster, or dysfunction, your life as you knew it changes. Immediately.
Ultimately, what you will eventually experience is the creation of a new “normal,” new routines, new ways of connecting and relating to What or Who has gone missing from your life.
The reason grief feels eternal is that your New Life becomes like those long, childhood days, where each day is a greater percentage of your Total Life Experience.
What the expression, “Time Heals All Wounds” leaves out, as do many platitudes, is the work and experiences sandwiched between Time and Healing.
Your wound is the entry point of the loss
It is agonizingly long in the beginning and then, before you know it, you are wondering, like me, where twenty-seven years went.
Time, then, is essentially the work that bridges the gap between Loss and Healing, it is the space that allows you to find your balance, to ask questions, and to find resolution in your conflict and grief.
Today, I celebrate the nine months I spent with my son in utero. My family, even the children who never knew him in the flesh, are keenly aware of the fact that he will forever be a part of our lives, albeit vastly different than the way we Humans expect and envision our experiences to be.
This post originally appeared on The Five Facets. It has been reprinted with permission.
Annah Elizabeth is The Five Facets founder and creator of The Five Facets Philosophy on Healing™, a ground-breaking guide that is to resolution what Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief is to bereavement. She is an author, speaker, and Healing Specialist™, someone who focuses on how we heal mind, body, and soul. Annah has dedicated her entire life to helping heal worlds of hurt and spent more than two decades dedicated to finding ways to help facilitate that healing. You can find her at The Five Facets, on Facebook, and on Twitter.