Why does grief continue to get harder? When will I ever feel better?
If you’re honest, you’ve wondered the same things too.
They say, “Time heals all wounds.” But it doesn’t.
Time cannot do that. Only the Heavenly Father can heal all wounds. He will wipe away every tear, but I do suspect that will take Him quite some time until He is done.
I was talking with a woman about three months after I lost my husband and she said, “Well, I’m sure it just gets a little bit easier every day.” But I wanted to yell, “Are you kidding me?!? Not at all! It gets harder every single day!”
(I think I responded graciously?!? I do understand that she just doesn’t understand.)
In much more beautiful language, my friend who lost his wife just a week after I lost Dan explains it this way:
“Losing a spouse is devastating in ways that my eyes have just recently been partially opened to. I say ‘partially’ as each day brings new reminders of what Bethany meant to me and how much deeper the wound is than I realized.”
His words explain this perfectly. These words have ministered to me and comforted me. This has helped me understand my new waves and continual layers of grief. Because it’s true.
Every day and every new situation is another way of understanding just HOW much we lost.
Each day and every new situation reveals how the wound is even deeper than we felt previously.
This is a grace to the grieving—that we don’t feel all of the loss all at once.
It’s a grace that it comes in, little by little. But that makes grief a slow painful process. One that cannot be rushed, stuffed, or ignored. It will bubble out eventually somehow. The body will tell you even if you won’t let your emotions go there.
We daily learn more of how much Dan meant to us and just how much he did to love, bless, provide for, protect, and bring joy to our family.
Today, I read the words of a friend reflecting on her experiences, after seven years of widowhood:
“I relate so much to Anne Roiphe’s words, ‘Grief has two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life.’
What has been surprising to me is that these two parts haven’t happened as steps, but rather they have and continue to happen simultaneously.
Our days continue to be days of entering more deeply into both the weight of the loss and the hardness and the sweetness of the rebuilding of our new lives.”
Even when we make healthy steps forward in rebuilding a new life out of the ashes, big or small victories continue to be laced with a layer of grief. The constant grief of change, remembering what could have been and what can no longer be.
There’s no timeline in grief.
There’s simply comfort and loss and waves we will ride our whole lives. Even if the intensity does eventually decrease after a while, those ripple effects reach on ahead of us.
From here out, as I move forward, waves of grief will move with me.
But losing Dan isn’t the first wave that accompanies me. I still grieve the loss of so many others. And yet, there’s still laughter and joy to be had. There’s still dreams to dreams and hopes to hope. There’s still life to live.
And yes. There’s still time to spend.
While time might not heal me, I know well the God who can.
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