We’ve all heard them. You know the clichés. Time Heals All Wounds. Give it a year, you’ll feel better.
The truth is, there is no magic healing that occurs just because time passes while you are grieving. It is what you do with that time that helps you to heal.
Understand that there may be an initial period of shock or numbness when your loved one dies. This could last anywhere from weeks to months to years, depending on your life circumstances and your experience with the death. Shock and numbness is a defense mechanism that serves to protect you from what may be too overwhelming to consider all at once. This is a common part of the grief process.
When we come out of a phase of shock, numbness or disbelief, it can very much seem like your grief is intensifying. Most people fear this is a sign that their grief is getting worse, that they are somehow doing this grief thing incorrectly. Remember that there is no wrong way to grieve and that this is your unique grief process for this specific loss.
As scary as it is when it does happen, you must allow yourself to feel the pain of your loss. Suppressing or ignoring your feelings will simply prolong the grief process. You do not have to do anything to force yourself to feel the pain, but when it does hit, try giving into it and finding healthy ways to express your thoughts and feelings. Calling a friend, keeping a journal or simply allowing yourself to cry can be helpful.
Grief isn’t something you get over. Grief is something you go through. There is no one final place or destination to attain. Taking the necessary time to learn how to live with your loss is the surest path towards healthy healing.