Friday, October 9, 2009

moving on, healing and getting over it

*Photo by shieken

I'm sure that as widows, we have all heard these words in some form or other. "You'll get over it one day." "You're young. You'll move on." "Time heals all wounds." And the like. I remember the first time some well-meaning, naive person attempted to instill these words of 'wisdom' upon me. I think I wanted to drop them.

The truth is that these silly phrases are....a farce. They are just not true. You won't get over it. You won't move on. Time won't heal it. Before I throw you into deep despair as I go on my little tirade of gloom, I'll tell you my theory.

I liken the monumental loss of my beloved husband, in fact any large loss, to the acquisition of a large, ugly and cumbersome backpack.

When this backpack (aka pain) is thrust upon you, you don't think you will ever be able to stand again. It is so heavy and oppressive that it hurts just to breathe. You can't imagine that one day you may be able to stand.

But each day, you grow slightly stronger. One day, you can drag yourself a few centimetres. Eventually, you can crawl a little ways. That bloody backpack is still there. You can't shed it, but you learn to carry it so that it is slightly more manageable.

One day, you find that you are strong enough to stand. It's hard. In fact, it's exhausting and it may make you feel resentful and fed up, but you do it.

Knowing that eventually you may be able to run or dance again, even though you carry this mismatched piece of luggage upon your back, is an achievement in itself. You are not 'over it, moving on or healed", you are just carrying that blasted thing with you because it has become a part of your shape and part of you. It may not match anything else you wear, but you are stronger than you ever believed or knew you could be.


  1. Wonderful Thank you! It is a pretty damn big backpack for sure.

  2. I know people have a problem with the "moving on" thing but, for me, I have. Not even realizing it, I was moving on from the day my late husband was diagnosed. I am nowhere near where I was then or during his illness or the in days after he died. And time has helped. And I am "over" the trauma though the loss is ever present, so in that sense - the backpack metaphor is apt, but I don't carry it as much as it sits in my metaphorical closet with all the other baggage.

  3. My dear friend was there for me, unconditionally when I went through my separation and divorce four years ago. I'm trying to be there for her now after she became a widow three years ago. I feel so embarrassed and frustrated that she used facebook to garner support. She is constantly posting things like "what's the point?" Her daughters read her posts. We are normally able to talk about "anything" with one another, but I don't know how to bring this up for fear of hurting her further; one more person giving her the wrong!!