Time Softens Grief


BY: Diane Snyder Cowan, MA, MT-BC, CHPCA

CATEGORY: Grief and Loss

Now that  winter is upon us and the days are short, I find myself thinking of my recent trip to Alaska. How would it be to live in darkness for 20 hours every day? The bereaved often feel enveloped in darkness.

In Alaska, hobbies help them cope with the long hours of blackness, and during the nighttime hours, the northern lights abound. They are a beacon of hope, and hope can guide us through our grief.

While traveling, I could not avert my eyes from the Alaskan mountain ranges. I was especially drawn to the jagged-edged, raw-looking brown mountains, but I found great comfort in the green rounded mountains. The tour guide said that the jagged mountains are younger. In time they become more rounded, and greener with growth.

I immediately thought of the jagged edges of new grief. And while time doesn't necessarily heal, time does soften (or make round) the rawness of grief. 

It's easy to relate grief to climbing a mountain. The journey is hard. The slope is steep. But along the way there are plateaus to stop, rest, and take in the view before you continue the climb. When you finally reach the top you think, "Ahhhh, I have arrived."

But then you see another peak, another valley, another pass to climb. You continue on your grief journey. With each new crest and each new vale you carry more experience and skills to manage the trek. The jagged edges soften as time passes. Grief doesn't end but it becomes manageable as you carry the memory of your loved one in your heart.

Know that we continue to be here with comfort, hope and healing.

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