In the last post I talked about one of the myths about Grief, the idea that time heals. This time I thought I’d share a question we get asked regularly at Grief Recovery this from Sharon is typical:
“Do we ever really “recover”? It is almost four years since I lost my husband to liver disease. The holidays are still difficult to bear. He would have just had a birthday on which I did not have a good day. I can’t celebrate my birthday anymore as he died on this day. Don’t we just deal with it more so than recover from it?”
Many people question the idea of recovery from loss because they never forget the person who died—which makes sense, because unless you get Alzheimer’s, you’re never going to forget someone who was important to you.
Most importantly, you would never want to forget your husband, and in so-doing lose the fond memories of your life together.
The key to recovery is to discover and complete what was left emotionally unfinished at the time of the death. When someone important to us dies, we discover things that we wish had happened differently, better, or more; and that we are left with unfulfilled hopes, dreams, and expectations about the future.
You said, it has been almost four years since your husband died. One of the biggest myths in the world is that “Time Heals All Wounds.” We always remind people that time can’t heal an emotional wound anymore than time can fix a flat tyre. It takes actions to fix a flat tyre, and it takes actions to deal with a broken heart.
And yes, the major holidays, as well as birthdays, can become fearful, sad, and painful reminders that he is no longer here.
We’ve known of so many people who’ve tried “just dealing with it:” They just try to bypass and bury the pain, but that doesn’t work.
We can guess that your relationship with your husband was huge and life-affirming for you, and his absence is incredibly difficult. How would you be able to “just deal with it?” That wouldn’t make sense.
Like the flat tyre analogy, you must take actions to repair the tyre, and you must take actions to deal with your grief. Go to the library or online and get The Grief Recovery Handbook. It will guide you through the actions to become emotionally complete, which will allow you to have fond memories not turn painful, and to be able to participate in holidays, have emotions on birthdays, etc, without pain. You may have normal and natural sadness and miss him on those days—as you do on other days—but the pain will go away.
Carole can be contacted by email email@example.com or on 01234 862218