It’s what you do in that time that heals. If time has passed and you feel better, it’s because you have done something. That “something” could be crying, gaining perspective, forgiving yourself, giving yourself permission to lose it – to wail- sit around and do nothing – or whatever it is that you needed to do to accept your loss, adjust to your new life and to get through the pain of your devastating, life altering loss.
I will agree that we need time to grieve and mourn, but it is not time that does the job of healing. If we do not do the necessary grief work (accepting the reality of the loss, experiencing the pain, making the necessary adjustments and creating meaning from the loss), we will end up with what Alan Wolfelt calls “carried grief.” Carried grief is when you do not mourn your loss and take the pain with you into everyday of your life. I think of it like deciding to keep a splinter in your arm because you are afraid of the pain of digging it out, but imagine your life with this throbbing, dull ache forever. That is why we have to mourn and grieve and that is why time alone simply cannot make that happen.
Think about it, grieving is a consequence of loving.And if you carry your grief with you for the rest of your life, that splinter you’ve decided to keep turns into a wall. Yes, this wall may prevent you from feeling pain right now, but guess what? It’s also preventing you from experiencing love.
I know it’s hard. I really do, but you can do it. Since grieving is a normal, natural process, you are completely capable of grieving on your own. But, if you are having trouble with accepting the reality of the loss, experiencing the pain on your own (including feeling guilty and/or ashamed), making the physical, emotional and spiritual adjustments or finding meaning from your loss, I definitely recommend spending time with an skilled and compassionate grief counselor who gets it.
Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy: A Handbook for the Mental Health Practitioner 4th Edition.
Author: J. William Worden
Living in the Shadow of The Ghosts of Grief
Author: Alan D. Wolfelt