Life Changes

How many times in your life has someone said to you that “time will heal all things”?

And how often have we bullied ourselves or felt shame that we are not “over,” “past,” “healed” (or insert your own word), because of this sentiment?

There seems to be an expectation in our culture that healing should be quick, and that to not “snap out of it” or “move on” is uncharacteristic of a healthy person.

I believe that time helps us to learn how to manage life in a different way. I do not believe that time heals all things.

I have talked with many wonderful new acquaintances since I started writing this column – whom I probably would not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. I cherish when people come up to me and share their stories. It’s personal, and I’m honored.

Just a few weeks ago I was approached by a lovely woman at the grocery store. She said that she had lost her husband four years ago. I felt the ache in her words, as she kept polite composure while she shared.

While there, and afterwards, I imagined a beautiful soul who had been trying to manage day-to-day life without her beloved. I had asked her name, touched her hand and said I would pray for her. And I have.

I thought about her for days, and she inspired this column.

People often forget to ask how someone is doing years after their loved one has passed on. So I’m asking you today.

How are you doing? What has this journey been like for you? Are you finding somewhat of a sense of a “newer normal” yet? Or is it a moment to moment process for you?

Whatever your answers, I hope you’ll own your feelings versus bullying yourself about moving faster through a cultural expectation of processing grief.

Holidays can be more difficult times for many people – and more challenging with each passing year, as the memories and longing can envelope us.

I met another person within this past month at the grocery store. He was 93 and a veteran. We began our unexpected conversation, as I thanked him for his service to our country.

He told me about World War II. He told me about his lovely wife who had passed 10 years ago. He told me about his wife’s gold cross necklace that he wore around his neck. He told me he was ready to die.

We talked at length, and never once did I try to talk him out of his feelings. I listened whole-heartedly, asked questions and hugged him throughout our words.

I hope to run into him again, just as I do the other woman I mentioned earlier.

Other people have often told me they don’t know what to say when someone brings up the passing of their loved one. They awkwardly look for words to comfort, and pop out that saying – “time heals all things” … or say nothing at all.

I don’t know how many people have said to me that words fail them. I suggested to each one that they share that sentiment instead; as there are no words that can change what has happened.

Yet there are words that can validate the person who is hurting. And if “hurting” is the wrong descriptor – than “transitioning” may be a better word.

Checking in with people is important, as you would appreciate someone caring for your journey.

For those continuing in the transition, I understand that it can be a lonely road, even if there are many people around you.

May we all find a sense of peace to honor our loved one’s life throughout each day. May you find strength in the memories that you shared. May you not bully yourself for words left unsaid and find a fresh voice to share with those who are still in front of you.

I believe that those who now stand at God’s side know what is going on – and sometimes whisper through our thoughts.

I believe in your strength, even if you don’t right now.

God bless you and yours through this holiday season and the years to come.

Langley is the author of the book titled “Life Changes,” now available at Otto Bookstore and