Recently, a friend’s young sister died unexpectedly of suicide. The entire family was traumatized. So many questions, so much pain, so much numbness. They stood together in complete shock and disbelief as they buried her and celebrated her short life. They began to wonder, does time heal everything?
My friend was physically ill for days afterward. He gathered himself enough to start to go back to work 2 weeks after the untimely death. He sat there and went through the motions for the first day or two. Only weeks after her death, another unimaginable tragedy occurred for the family. His teenage step-son was found unresponsive in the exact same way as the young sister had been weeks earlier. He laid in a hospital bed on life support as they simultaneously grieved the death of his sister.
The pure agony of how life was unfolding this way is unimaginable. How does one recover from this? It is hard enough to think about simply getting up in the morning much less ever having a fulfilling life and a future.
Does Time Heal Everything?
Everyone experiences grief differently. Some hold on to the anger longer than others. There is a saying that “time heals everything.” When we talk about grieving a loved one, it is more fair to say that time changes your grief but it does not take away the grief. If healing means that you no longer grieve then there may not ever be healing. Healing is more of a coming to terms with reality and being able to recognize your grief as normal and an overflow of your love for the one who died.
Can we change our grief through our mindset?
Many who have experienced such traumas have commented that as the years pass it gets “easier” to deal with what happened. But grief can still overcome you at any time. That grief can be just as strong as it was at the time of the death, even years later.
As in most things, we have a choice as to how we will respond. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It also doesn’t mean you should ignore your grief. What it does mean is that you have the power to choose to change your thoughts. As you begin to heal, you can catch those negative thoughts and reframe them. For example, when you start thinking about how hard it is to not have someone with you at Christmas time, you can reframe your thoughts. Acknowledge the sadness and the pain of losing your loved one. Then remember the time you did have together and reminisce on the good times. It won’t remove the pain but training your brain to think about the happier things may help.
Choose To Remove Toxic Thoughts
Neuroscience reminds us of the neuroplasticity of our brains, meaning they can change and adapt to the things we think and say. If we continue to allow toxic thoughts run through our mind it will cause brain damage in the long run and dramatically affect our ability to live a healthy life long term.
The more that we can catch those negative thoughts and start to focus on the positive thoughts, the healthier our brain will be which in turn will allow a hopeful future.