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Does time heal all wounds?

From “Springs of Living Water,” the grief support e-newsletter of Optage Hospice

You’ve probably heard that old cliché, “Time heals all wounds,” but does it, actually? While many do experience some relief from their most intense emotions in time, this cliché hardly captures the reality of what healing looks like (or feels like) for most of us.
Here are some problems with this cliché:

  • It might get worse before it gets better. In the months immediately after a loss, you may experience shock which can buffer you from the full impact. As the shock wears off (usually between months 3 and 6) the pain may actually increase as you grasp the implications of your loss.
  • Time is a little wonky these days. In this long, strange pandemic season, we may feel disoriented. Add to that the challenges of caregiving or grieving a loss and time can feel even more distorted. It can move slowly like the second hand ticking across the clock, or we may ache for moments that we were not with our loved one that we can’t get back. These days, time can feel more like a jailer or a thief than a friend.
  • We can live with loss. While healing can—and does— happen in its own mysterious way, the cliché seems to suggest that time makes the unpleasant feelings go away. This is simply not true for most of us—if you are losing a loved one slowly or if your person has already died than you already know the kaleidoscope of emotions—ever shifting and surprising that moves with you through time.

That said, a certain grace can come. As life pulls us forward and we reflect back, we may soften toward ourselves or the other person. Some of the more difficult memories recede as we consider what we would like to carry forward with us. Day-by-day, moment-by-moment, we can find our way through loss into hope.
Just give it a little time.

Upcoming grief groups (over Zoom)

Caregiver connections:
Second Wednesday, monthly 7–8 PM

Finding balance when life feels chaotic
Wednesday, July 13 | 7–8 PM
The caregiving journey can be unpredictable, stressful and disorienting. Join us as we discuss strategies for finding stability and balance in times of change.

Grief support:
Third Wednesday, monthly 7–8 PM

Creative paths to healing
Wednesday, July 20 | 7–8 PM
This month we’ll explore some of the creative ways that people have found to move through the pain of grief and find healing. You are welcome to bring something to share—for example: a piece of writing, a painting or a photograph of your garden. If you have found something that helps, we want to hear about it!

Finding meaning & purpose through loss (six weeks)
Tuesdays, July 12 – August 16 | 7–8 PM
This group offers an opportunity to explore the growth and transformation that can come through seasons of loss. We’ll discuss meaning-making, legacy and hope as you chart your path forward. (This group is limited to ten attendees, so please register early).

If you are interested in joining a group or establishing one at your site, contact Chaplain Jenny Schroedel via email at [email protected] or call 651-341-7105.

Sign up for Springs of Living Water delivered to your email inbox monthly.

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