Friday, October 09, 2009

moving on, healing and getting over it

Also posted to Widow's Voice
*Photo by shieken

I'm sure that as widows, we have all heard these words in some form or other. "You'll get over it one day." "You're young. You'll move on." "Time heals all wounds." And the like. I remember the first time some well-meaning, naive person attempted to instill these words of 'wisdom' upon me. I think I wanted to drop them.

The truth is that these silly phrases are....a farce. They are just not true. You won't get over it. You won't move on. Time won't heal it. Before I throw you into deep despair as I go on my little tirade of gloom, I'll tell you my theory.

I liken the monumental loss of my beloved husband, in fact any large loss, to the acquisition of a large, ugly and cumbersome backpack.

When this backpack (aka pain) is thrust upon you, you don't think you will ever be able to stand again. It is so heavy and oppressive that it hurts just to breathe. You can't imagine that one day you may be able to stand.

But each day, you grow slightly stronger. One day, you can drag yourself a few centimetres. Eventually, you can crawl a little ways. That bloody backpack is still there. You can't shed it, but you learn to carry it so that it is slightly more manageable.

One day, you find that you are strong enough to stand. It's hard. In fact, it's exhausting and it may make you feel resentful and fed up, but you do it.

Knowing that eventually you may be able to run or dance again, even though you carry this mismatched piece of luggage upon your back, is an achievement in itself. You are not 'over it, moving on or healed", you are just carrying that blasted thing with you because it has become a part of your shape and part of you. It may not match anything else you wear, but you are stronger than you ever believed or knew you could be.


Bonnie said...

What a great analogy, Jackie.

If I ever find myself in the place of wanting to say those meaningless words to another, I will simply shut up, hug them, and send them to your blog.

I can't believe how strong you are, and even though we've never met, I think about you so very often when I want to whine about something trivial in my fully-blessed life.

Heidi said...

This was the most beautiful and insightful message I have ever read. My parents lost a child two years before I was born. I have experienced vicarious grief my whole life, although I have felt very conflicted by it. Your post has given much insight into what my parents have felt and continue to feel, even after 36 years. Thank you.

Poppy and Mei said...

Beautiful...once again...XXxx.

Anonymous said...

Perfect, perfect, perfect.

Thank you,

erynn said...

so true!

I too want to 'drop' people who tell me that "with time, I will heal" or "it won't always be an open wound." I want to reply back to them, "Really? I'm glad YOU think that but I think my heart will bleed from brokenness til the day I die."

Marissa said...

what a wonderful analogy and while i've always thought that time does help, not heal, just numb (if that makes sense), your words today definitely provide me with a different perspective which makes a lot of sense.

jackie -you will never realize the magnitude of impact you continously leave on me - i learn so much from you and put it to great use daily with our clients.

i will forever be grateful for the gift... though its truly a gift i wish you never had the ability to give me.

do you know how very much i adore you for so very many reasons? :)

Dottie said...

Love the analogy,'s so true. Maybe you don't feel like it, but you are doing great, so many of us reading your blog, looking in on you are very, very proud!

Jen said...

Ah yes, that is exactly how it feels. My grief counselor assures me that eventually, I will dance again. But I think it takes longer when I fight against carrying the damn thing. Making it a friend, something that honors what my husband and I had, is a little more likely to calm the resentment and anger.

Jenn said...

so, so true! thank you for spoke what i have always wanted to say.

Silindile Ntuli said...

Jenn beat me to it, I've always wanted to tell people what you've just said and I have told a few but they keep saying oh no time heals all pain. Truth is time does nothing, you really get used to your reality and you become one with it, people watching you see a totally healed and happy you but inside it's as raw as the day it happened.

Personally I'm not dealing with losing a loved one, I'm dealing with an illness that has gotten me bed ridden and its been over 6yrs of this, I've heard it all, I've heard you'll get better, you'll get used to it and I've wanted to say please don't say that on many many occasions but people are just being nice and I appreciate it.

I wish more would read your post and understand that instead of saying time heals all we should give out hugs and be there as friends when the load is too heavy and friends on those days where we carry the load with a smile.

I loved your post and I'm definately adding you on my bookmarks.

Jenny Davis said...

That is an excellent analogy to explain loss.

You have such a gift, thank you for sharing it :)

Rach said...

People say the crappest things. I think they always will.

A great post. xxx

Going Crunchy said...

Freaking brilliant - Shan