JUSTin Time: The Power Behind a Red Door
“Grief Has No Time Limit”
It will get easier with time…
Did platitudes like this ever make you want to punch the well-intended person in the face? Or was that just me?
When will it get easier? Give me a deadline; I work well with those. Tell me what I have to do to feel whole again.
You don’t know? Then maybe you should keep your mouth shut and just leave me be.
Feel familiar to anyone else?
Unfortunately, grief has no time limit. There’s no easy button. And there’s no way to fast-forward through the individual feelings you have to work out.
However, I’m finally starting to understand this platitude – but I still disagree with its exact wording.
I’m not sure that grief gets “easier” with time, but it certainly does change with time.
In the early period of grieving – this could be days, weeks, months or years depending on the individual – it’s normal to want to escape from reality. People do this in the form of retail therapy, drinking, withdrawing from friends, etc.
For myself, during the first three years of my grief, I was on the go. I volunteered, was out socializing with friends and even went back to school. There were times I was afraid that being alone meant too much time to think about what I had lost.
It was a long time before I was comfortable with “me time.” Now I crave it.
If anyone tried to put you on a timeline in dealing with your grief, they’ve most likely never been through it themselves. Everyone grieves differently, and needs to be allowed to do so. You have to do what works best for you.
Here are some examples of other changes you may notice:
- When your loved one’s name is mentioned, you smile and think of happy times rather than be driven to tears.
- You take fewer days off work to be alone in your grief. Though you may still find the need for this around milestones, such as birthdays and anniversaries.
- You shop because you need something, not because it makes you “feel better.”
- You’re on the side of the line of being considered a social drink rather than someone with a potential drinking problem.
- You go places and do things because you want to, not because someone tells you it might help.
- When someone asks you how you are, you see it as a legitimate question rather than someone gauging where you’re at in your grief.
What other changes in your grieving pattern have you noticed over time?
Kelly Hendershot has been active with Gilda’s Club since 2008 as a family member, bereaved, intern, group facilitator and president of the Associate Board.