In the last chapter, I discussed stupid things people have said to me and to the widows/widowers I know. In my opinion, one of the stupidest words—and one I absolutely hate—is “heal,” so I’ve devoted a whole chapter to it. I realize society, friends, and family want grieving people to heal. But, in my opinion, losing a spouse is not something I can be completely “healed” from. This isn’t a broken bone that I hope will eventually mend back together and be the same. It feels as if someone took out my heart, stomped on it, shredded it to pieces, and put it back in my body. How can I heal that much damage? Losing my spouse is something I am learning to live with; I don’t think I will ever fully heal.
I once ate dinner with my widower friend Laurence and his friends. His friends asked me what my definition of “heal” was. I replied that I hated that word and didn’t wish to be healed. To me, if I were healed, that means I’m okay without Reg. How could I be okay without him? I said I assume I’ll be okay at some point; I will live on. But I will never be healed.
Thankfully, though neither of his friends had experienced the loss of a spouse, they had lost their parents and realized you truthfully never heal fully. One said loss is similar to a wound that has left scars and a scab. It’s healed, but there is a scar that will always be there. He suggested we need another word because “heal” is too loaded and doesn’t connote what the emotion is or what it truly means. I agreed.
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