Does Time Really Heal?

“Time heals, or does it just make us go numb? Not sure……

A friend made that comment to me during a discussion after the death of his friend, which occurred three months after he had been comforting me over the death of my own friend.  He had actually been a great comfort to me, probably more than he realizes, and when he said that I became aware that I’d been questioning the same thing.

It’s kind of surprising that someone who feels she has little time to do anything seems to find all the time in the world to think anything…and everything.  And always too much.
Today is one of those thinking days.  A little earlier I found out a friend’s sister died.  Five minutes ago I found out another friend’s father passed.  And today is the anniversary of the beginning of the ‘six month bonus’ I had with my own friend.  He died in October. 

Here we go.  Reflection.  The whole “circle of life/seasons in the sun” thought process we all go through when it happens to someone else.

I am a Libra.  The scales. Balance. Ha! More like a see-saw.  Either up or down, one extreme or the other. 

Those qualities are actually helpful in an argument or discussion, because no matter which side of the see-saw I am on, the other side is always visible.  It is nothelpful, however, in an argument in my head.  Playing devil’s advocate or opposition to myself only confuses me more, because sometimes my ‘other side’ is just mean.

I had a discussion once with someone who did not believe in God or any type of Universal Creator.  His basic position on the matter is that some people need something to believe in…as a crutch. Now, I don’t care whether or not he believes in anything.  We each have our own beliefs and we are allowed them.  What I did not like was his condescension; that people believe in what they ‘need to believe in to get by’. I happen to think that is a little too cut-and-dried to fully encompass what beliefs really are, at least to me.  I also think that comment of his was just mean.

I had a lot of trouble dealing with my friend’s death.  No one knows better than me how to find the positive in any given situation.  I say that quite confidently, because I can.  Yes, I was lucky to have the time with him that I had; yes, his suffering (cancer) is over…  I knew that.  What I was dealing was your basic sadness that what once was was no more.  I had something good and then I didn’t.  Which brings us back to the original question.  Does time heal or do we just get numb?

I’d always believed that time did actually heal.  When the grief was especially heavy, however, I said that, but wasn’t sure if I believed it. And I found myself arguing, with myself, in the same manner of my agnostic/atheist friend, in much the same very condescending manner.  Almost trying to convince myself that it’s not so much a matter of healing, but that it is a matter of getting numb and just convincing myself that I was healing.  Making it sound better and more acceptable than the idea of just ‘getting over it’.  Playing with words and euphemisms like a crutch to help me ‘get by’.  And then somehow I had this third voice interrupt with the question, “But doesn’t the end justify the means?  If you are feeling better, isn’t that what matters?”  And my mean voice would answer, “Not if you are just fooling yourself, you idiot.”

(Don’t you wish you were in my head?)

After much reflection today (about this and every single other question I’ve ever had in my entire life) I realized that I go with healing.  Actual healing.  The open wound that closes up in time and leaves a scar as visible proof.  Yes, the scar is there, but the wound is healed, as in not bleeding.  Yes, there can be tenderness and some nerve damage at the site, but the wound itself is considered healed.  I do miss my friend.  But I know how fortunate I was to have had him as a part of my life, even if I was angry when it ended.  Of course, I still have my moments (yes, I’m sure my closest friends are having a chuckle at that).  But what I know is that life is still beautiful, and I am still able to enjoy it, and I will always have wonderful memories to treasure.  I can still experience pain but I am able love and like and laugh and appreciate and feel.

Believing I am healing or healed is not a crutch.  I am not fooling myself.  The bottom line is, if I were numb, feeling anything would be impossible.

To my friends, I know it hurts, deeply.  And it is easy for me to sit here in the position of not immediately going through the fresh pain to be able to talk as almost flippantly as I am.  But I’m also in the position of having been there, with someone else sitting and telling me the same thing.  Question whatever you want. Feel what you need to feel.  And know that as long as you are able to feel, you will heal.  This is what I truly believe.
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4 Comments

  1. Well done, Sue. I think the healing and the numbness are like alternating waves washing against the shore. Sometimes we need a little numbness just to survive and function, but the next wave will be along shortly and the healing will come. Will it ever be complete? Who knows … I teared up reading this blog and reflecting on the loved ones I missed so deeply at times.

    And to your acquaintance who refers to ones faith as a crutch … at times it is, but then at other times, it is an amazing magic wand! It enhances the innate power in my heart and directs it where I want it to go. It protects me and those I love. It spreads the light so I need never feel fear.

    My two cents worth ❤

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  2. I dont think you friends philosophy was condescending at all……..I find it to be the truth in most cases. Like the line from “the boxer” …. a man believes what he wants to believe and disregards the rest.”
    THere are 5 stages to the greiving process and you can google that I' m sure and see if you've made it through this process….but I'm pretty sure you havent being… that in most cases the process is at least a 5 year term. And I will agree that you are not numb as you are “feeling”
    My brother is not dealing with his grief in a good way, although he thinks he is.And therefore his process could take longer. He's progressed well with certain things and not so good with others, meaning I guess he keep repeating the steps instead of working all the way through. But everyone grieves differently. its just getting though this process and still living your life is important. You will never really get over this loss and it is a learning process but yet it will repeat itself and manifest differently with each loss, some much deeper that what you are experiencing. Grief can also manifest itself it something other than the death of a person, could be the death of a habit…something so ingrained in your everyday life that you give up or lose.

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