Things Not to Say to People Who Are Grieving – #4

4.      “Time heals all wounds.”

What a popular saying.  Is it true?  Maybe for some things.  I don’t think it is time that necessarily heals the hurt, but what we do about our loss during that time.  Either way, telling someone that time heals all wounds when they just lost their child, or when their husband of twenty years walks out is not really what they need to hear.  Ask yourself what the point is in you saying that?  How is that helpful?  Please try and respect that the griever is in a very fragile state and doesn’t need trite answers or platitudes.  If you don’t know what to say, you could say, “Just wanted to let you know I will be thinking of you and praying for you.”  That is very kind.

I imagine if we interviewed those who have been through various losses and asked them if they agreed with the statement “time heals all wounds” we would get mixed responses.  From my own life I can say time has greatly helped with some of the losses I have experienced, such as hurtful situations in relationships, different transitions etc.  I think it was a combination of time and my own personal growth.  However, there are several other losses that “time hasn’t healed” and never will.  While I may not walk around crying every day or talking about it, the injury is still deep and impactful.

To the griever:  If someone or several people say this to you I apologize on their behalf.  It is a trite and aloof comment.  Feel free to respond “Well it doesn’t feel like it.”  Or just brush them off and seek out others who will not try and tell you that you will feel better soon or in time.  While that may be true it isn’t what you usually want to hear. The timeframe of your healing journey is yours and will be walked through at your own pace.


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