It doesn’t really get easier with time



I read a post on Facebook today from a friend of mine who is at the one year anniversary of his father’s passing.  I would like to tell him that it gets easier with time, but I can’t.  So many people offer those words as an attempt to comfort those who have lost a loved one.  Since I have lost both of my parents, and many other loved ones for that matter, I am well versed at saying ‘thank you, I hope so’ when those words were spoken to me.

But I have learned a great truth about loss.  It doesn’t get easier.  The pain of loss is never really assuaged by time.  The polite phrase spoken by so many holds a great sentiment but very little truth.

What I have learned, however, is that the pain is slowly muted by the memories.  That pain still burns like a lingering flame, concealed far below the surface, and it can be turned into a raging inferno with a single spark.  But that pain is much less visceral than it once was and shouldering their absence seems much more bearable.

With each passing year I recognize a growing trend in my patterns.  Habits that I picked up subconsciously from those loved ones who are gone seem to emerge inexplicably but they are familiar and comforting traits.  Idioms used by my dad tumble out of my mouth before I even have a chance to realize what I am saying.  My arm in the window of my car as I drive, elbow on the bottom and only two fingers hooked in the top, is exactly how my mother used to position herself driving up to the cottage when we were young.

It doesn’t make the loss any easier but it is those little things that make us know that their life lives on through our lives.  We get to keep some of the best parts of them alive because mimicking their characteristics keeps their spirit close.  The pain will always reside in us as proof that the love we had for them was fierce.  It doesn’t get easier,  it just gets manageable.

(image credit)



25 thoughts on “It doesn’t really get easier with time

  1. You are exactly right about grief and loss, but I was especially taken with your observation about allowing yourself to be comforted when you see your mother and father in yourself. Such a wonderful way to remember them – I’m afraid I seem to remind myself more and more of my mother the older I get – I wish I’d gotten some of her more endearing traits! 🙂

  2. No one can feel the true pain of someone who has lost someone because one can never be in one’s position truly. We can try to feel their pain, try to present our words of sympathy, try to offer our shoulders but in the end nothing can lessen their grief. I wish your friend finds peace.

  3. What Sheila Morris said. I am happy to hear you find some peace knowing the positive ways someone (in this case, your parents) has affected you. Some people find that difficult to grab in their moments of deepest grief. You express this all beautifully (the last two sentences, at least, really should be framed), and what a thoughtful way to express empathy for your friend. No use in giving him empty platitudes or half-truths.

  4. That is a lovely way of putting it. I see the loss of a loved one as a hole that never gets filled. Time might take the sting out of the pain but never fills the hole.

  5. So true. I lost my younger (and only) brother last year. It still hurts, tears still flow and though the laughter is back, life is just not the same anymore. Thank you for this post. 😊 Merry Xmas!

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