Since grief is a difficult topic for most people, there is a tendency to descend into myths about the subject of grief. These myths have often been passed down from generation to generation. These myths or paradigms easily become the accepted truth of our lives that we accept without questioning.
In this series of articles I will be discussing a number of myths which are prevalent in our culture. These myths have a lasting impact on the lives of grievers and those who support grieves.
The purpose of these articles is to bring the myths to the surface of consciousness in order that they can be seen and evaluated from a place of awareness rather than simply accepted as the norm. Myths cloud the truth and create inner confusion and frustration.
I speak about these myths from the inside out, so to speak. The more I explored my own grief process the more I became aware of how these and other myths had really kept me stuck in my own grief process.
The first myth we will explore is a very common response expressed to most grievers; namely, “…it just takes time to get over grief.”
If you are presently grieving you may have heard this or you may have expected to hear this from others. It may be a sentiment you have shared with others you know who are grieving.
Simply because this is a common response does not mean it is helpful or true. Take a moment to close your eyes and really focus on the words and the meaning of the phrase, “It just takes time…”
How do you feel when you really allow yourself to experience the meaning of these words?
You may experience inner conflict or confusion when you hear these words. You may begin to wonder how much time is enough time to grieve. You may feel compelled to ask others how long they grieved their loss. You may feel resigned to the fact that grief is something that must take a specific number of years to move through.
I believe one reason this myth is so prevalent is because it is so very difficult to watch someone who is grieving. Projecting the grief out into an extended time frame somehow gives those grieving and those watching the grief a way to justify the pain of grief.
If grief just takes time, then all concerned can just resign themselves to an extended time frame. It’s put in the same category as if you break your leg and the doctor gives you a specific number of weeks for the bones to heal. Most people simply accept that time frame and wait it out.
With grief, time is not the healer. Grief is not about time. Grief is about a hurting heart. And that hurting heart longs simply to be acknowledged, with no time expectation or limits.
If time were the healer of grief then those losses from many years ago would not still be impacting our lives today. If time were the healer then we would not find ourselves so easily drawn back to our past losses when we witness or experience a new loss.
Time is not the healer of grief. Awareness and honesty are the first steps to healing grief.