Time doesn’t heal all wounds: The loneliest part of grieving

You shouldn’t be grieving anymore.

I’ve been telling myself that a lot in the bathroom mirror lately.

And some well-to-do people have told me that in their eyes lately when they ask me if I’ve been feeling better and I suddenly feel obligated to say yes, I’m doing just fine.

Grieving is a lonely business–especially when enough time passes to convince everyone around you that time has healed the wounds. I’ve never faced it before–not like this.


My Dad has been gone almost three months now. If you’re new to my blog–my Dad died of cancer in December, and it still feels like it just happened last night. I know that doesn’t seem long at all as I sit here and type this, but there’s an unseen push to just “be better, darn it”. The sting of the first shock has worn off for those around me. I don’t visibly wear the death in my eyes anymore. I don’t put my head down at my desk or file for bereavement time or look toward the date on the calendar that’s set for a funeral. It’s done. Everything is done.

Except for the pain.

Maybe you’re at that stage too–months, maybe years, after someone you love leaves your life because of death or divorce or time in the service. And a world that once stood still to honor the “much understood” tears is now in full motion again, expecting you to be alright. YOU expect you to be alright. But in some ways it feels like it’s getting worse and worse and you’re more and more alone in the pain that you’re no longer allowed to constantly share.

At least that’s how it feels for me.


It’s scary to put my thoughts–vulnerable thoughts, at that–out there on the line. But I started this blog with the intention of sharing every part of this journey we call life. And this is an ugly part of it.


Time doesn’t heal all wounds, I’ve realized. Time just changes them.

Time transforms how you have to deal with the wounds.  Time makes it easier to wait to cry until you get in the car. Time gives you some “good days” where you can better turn toward positive things or enjoy a good time or distract yourself with work or church activities. Time makes it easier to get dressed in the morning and put on makeup without having to re-apply the mascara three times. But time doesn’t heal it.


There was comfort almost in knowing that everyone knew at the same time that I was grieving my Dad. There was a subtle comfort in the sympathy cards that came in stacks in the mail and the phone calls and text messages. I didn’t think so at the time, but now, as the cards stop and the calls stop and the nights become a little quieter–pain becomes more raw because there was a comfort in knowing that everyone knew. People had their minds on my Dad.

Last night on my way home from work I flipped on the song that Dad dedicated to me and my family before he died. In the song (Compass by Lady Antebellum) there’s a line that says, “When it’s all said and done, you can walk instead of run. Because no matter what you’ll never be alone.”

And just like that, I decided that walking is best for me.



And I have to stop trying to run to the finish line. Because at this point, I don’t even know if there is a finish line to this.

But how do you walk? How do you give yourself the mercy and the grace to say, “You know what, I’m still not ok. And that’s ok.”

I turned to my scriptures for help, just like I had when my Dad took his last breath. And I subconsciously turned to Gethsemane. Because right now, that’s where I’m sitting. My friends who surround me seem to be fast asleep at times–there with me and good-hearted, but unknowing. And in the darkness I’m on my knees with the Lord. 

And the first thing I read was John 17:9 when Jesus, completely and utterly alone and bearing the pains of every single broken heart that would ever be, began a prayer that included, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me, for they are thine.”



(Painting by Liz Lemon Swindle)

In those moments in the garden–moments where the Savior faced the beginning of the most unimaginable pain to ever be felt within the earth’s history–he decided to pray for you. He decided to pray for me. His disciples. He didn’t just feel the pains of grief right when it strikes. He felt the dull ache of grief after months and years pass–the ache that gets locked away and festers in a lonely heart. He felt, in the moment, how it feels to wake up from a dream where they’re alive again–only to lay very still while looking at the ceiling and realizing that it wasn’t real. He felt it all– and in that moment he prayed.

This isn’t a pity party. It’s not a call for extra visits or more sympathy cards. I just have a feeling that I’m not alone in the stage of grief that isn’t openly talked about merely because of the stigma that things should get better within a set amount of time or “you have a problem”. I have a feeling I’m not the only one who wonders why “time” hasn’t held up his end of the deal. And I’m pretty positive that I’m not the only one out there trying to be the “strong one”, only to beat myself up when that doesn’t work out as planned.


But I’m trying to remind myself of the simple truth that the Savior of the world went on his knees for me. In lonely darkness he pleaded for my heart to be healed. And in a way no one else will ever understand…he understands.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds, I’ve come to figure out. You will too, if you haven’t already.

But I’m glad to know who does.

66 thoughts on “Time doesn’t heal all wounds: The loneliest part of grieving

  1. Thank you for this. My dad died in Nov 2013. I still miss him every single day. Some days are okay and I can talk about him without crying. Other days, I can’t think of him without crying . I miss him so much more than I thought I would. I thought he had lived in another state for over 10 years, he had dementia, and I hadn’t seen him for the last year because of family issues, so what was the big deal? What was I thinking? Luckily, I was able to see him during a very lucid time before be passed. I got to hold his hand and we expressed our love for each other. The funeral was hard, visiting his grave is harder. Seeing his date of death on the headstone is so surreal, as is seeing it on family documents, and on the family tree. I know it will get better, for now it just helps to know I’m not alone.

  2. Thank you for expressing what is daily in my heart. My only daughter, beautiful Trudi, was hit by a car in January 2007 and we took her off life support the next day and allowed her to return to that God who gave her life. I had no warning, no little promptings, as I said goodbye to her that morning that it would be the last goodbye in this life. It was hard to accept, hard not to feel anger to the person who was not paying attention and drove into the jogging lane and did what she did. I was angry at God. But as the years have passed and I have learned the lessons I was meant to learn from this experience I have come to accept and be at peace with God’s plan for this incredible person and know she is doing wonderful things in this next life.

  3. This is such a moving read, my dad also died in December of last year, from cancer. If possible I can say “I know what you’re going through”. It is still so painful, but I know I will see him again. As the anniversary of his death approaches, the deep pain I have buried is resurfacing. I know my savior is the only one who can truly ease this pain, May we all feel solace in him. May the pain ease and allow rebuilding of our souls. Thank you for sharing, you are not alone!!

  4. So your message is that time doesn’t heal all wounds but Jesus does. Okay, but time isn’t a thing that heals. The concept is that pain dies as time passes, and you are saying that 3 months isn’t enough for you to get over your fathers death. In all honesty, I’m surprised that anyone would think it is enough time to do that. I personally believe that we heal at whatever speed that we allow Jesus to work on our heart.
    Again you are writing a story and title like your concept is placing common sense or social convention on its head, when in reality you are just manufacturing scenario that needs your solution. The more I think about it, half of your posts do this. .. present and oils issue in a new way with your new answer as the new solution.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest and I can breathe again after reading this. God works in amazing ways. I’ve been struggling a lot the past few months with the lost of a loved one and today of all days has been the hardest. I just couldn’t hold back the tears today no matter how hard I tried to just keep breathing there they were with every breath. And I googled a quote I liked and this article popped up and I figured I would read it. I want to thank you for helping me not fell so alone at my loneliest moment and to let know I’m not the only one who knows how it feels.
    God bless you

  6. My dad died in August of 2014. I spent his last 12 hours on earth alone with him, aside from the hospice nurses. I held his hand as he took his last breath. And I think it hurts more than it did that day.

    Thank you for saying “out loud” what I have felt for a year.
    Thank you and God bless you.

  7. 10 months ago I was convinced that time heals all wounds….now I’m convinced nothing heals some wounds. Some days are hard and some are harder.
    Your words hit home! I wake up in the morning desperate for a peaceful mind and thoughts.
    I lay down at night wishing for a dream. One last time to hug him. I pray to Jesus Christ and I don’t doubt Him

    1. Grieving is hard to bear. Sometimes, depending on the relationship, unbearable and seemingly unfair. But in order to grieve we must have felt the love of our lost ones’ presence. My brother died when I was 13, my father when I was 35, my mother when I was 44. Not a day goes by when I don’t feel I want to call them or hear their voice or feel the touch of their hand. And not one day goes by when I don’t realize that to have had those specific people in my life, even for such a short time, was such a blessing. If we had not had that love we would not miss them so much. So, I am grateful to have had them to love even for a day, and I know they are in a place so glorious I cannot wish them returned to me.

  8. You beautifully expressed what I know my daughter is feeling. We just marked the 1-year anniversary of their dad passing and time doesn’t heal her wounds…it just changed the way she grieves. My thoughts and prayers go out to you as well. And as you can tell from the comments, you’re definitely not alone.

  9. From the day my Mum died in May 2012, I never believed in the words “time will heal your wounds”, because to me, that means the death would become nothing and that it wouldn’t affect me anymore.
    In reality, grief of a loved one continues for the rest of your life. Yes time does help you cope with it better, helps you protect your heart/mind from breaking down and also helps you cover your sadness, but it doesn’t heal it. For me, nothing in this world will be able to replace or fill up this void inside me. You learn to live with time. I constantly speak of her to keep her memories alive, even if its hard. I fear that if I don’t mention her or think about her, I might start to forget about the precious time we had together or forget the things about her.
    In reality, grief of a loved one continues for the rest of your life. Yes time does help you cope with it better, helps you protect your heart/mind from breaking down and also helps you cover your sadness, but it doesn’t heal it. For me, nothing in this world will be able to replace or fill up this void inside me. You learn to live with time. I constantly speak of her to keep her memories alive, even if its hard. I fear that if I don’t mention her or think about her, I might start to forget about the precious time we had together or forget the things about her.

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