“Time heals all wounds.” That’s what they tell you when you lose someone you love.
They tell you that in time, you will heal.
They tell you that in a matter of months, you will get “better.” No matter who you lose or how you lose them, we are taught that one day we will be fixed. Our edges will be sewn back together, and we will once again be whole and complete. We are told that all of this will happen, or simply put, “It will happen in time.”
But do you know what? Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Time doesn’t magically mend all of our broken edges, or sew us back together where we are empty. Time doesn’t fix us.
Time doesn’t make up for that absence of the person we love – it just doesn’t. And do you know why? Time doesn’t heal us in times of grief and despair, because we don’t need to heal. In all honesty, I believe we never heal. We never become whole again. But this isn’t a bad thing – it’s not sad. We don’t heal because the hole we have is here for a reason – the hole is here because it is the secret space that holds the memories and the love of the person we are missing. The hole is here to remind us of the irreplaceable role this person played in our life.
It took me a while to understand this; to comprehend that I did not need to “get over” my mom’s death. I often wondered when I would start to feel better, when missing my mom would get easier. I wondered when I would heal, or when this new world without my mom would feel real – when it would truly be my life. I couldn’t quite fathom when her death would change from being temporary to permanent.
Thinking about a world without my mom is heart breaking, it’s devastating. But I slowly started to realize that this world is not without my mom. This world is not without my mom because the hole in me, and in many others, where I feel her missing, is still here. The world is not without her because she touched so many lives and still lives on in so many of us.
I don’t want to sew this part of me up. I don’t want to “heal.” I don’t want to “get over” this loss, or feel like everything is okay again.
But before you jump to conclusions, please realize: this does not mean that I want to grieve forever. No. I don’t want to be mourning her death every single day. What it does mean is that I want to always have this opening within me. I want to keep her alive in the many ways that I can. I want to keep her close and near.
This is why I won’t heal.
You see, this safe and comfortable spot that remains open is the space in which I can acknowledge that a wonderful person made a dent on my heart.
When you lose someone you love, time will not heal all wounds. Time will not magically make you feel better, or make you miss this person any less. Time won’t replace them, and time won’t suddenly make life feel perfect or flawless.
But what can time do? Time can give you the chance to learn and grow. It can teach you to maneuver your way through this world in a different way, a way in which you understand that the person you love impacted you – that they truly changed and influenced your world. Time can teach you that you don’t need to mask your pain, or fill up your hole with something or someone else. And though the person you love may not be physically with you, you can carry them with you if you save this small hole in your heart for them.
This hole I’m referring to? It’s no longer an empty, gaping hole. It’s no longer a hole filled with sadness. No. Instead it’s a little warm space that I keep just for my mom. It’s a place where her memory lives on, a place where her voice continues to encourage and inspire me. It’s a place where our inside jokes still make me laugh, and a place where her smile still brings me happiness. Simply put, It’s the space that will always be reserved for her, and only her.
So keep that little space in your heart open, keep it safe, and let it be.
It will always be a part of you. You don’t need to sew it shut or put a band aid over it. You don’t need to patch it up. Time will not heal your wounds, but time will teach you that love is stronger than pain. Let the love of the person you lost stay with you. And please remember -there’s no need to patch up your loss.
There’s no reason to forget or to try to move on. Instead, move forward. Carry this person you love with you, and put one foot in front of another. You’ve got this.