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Healing is Not Linear, It’s a Zig Zag

I remember waiting for the day when the pieces of my life would start to go back together instead of feeling like a bomb had exploded and the pieces were everywhere. I remember begging for the pain to subside and remembering what’s always said about time. “Time heals all wounds.” I couldn’t wait for the day when I would wake up without tears flowing down my face; I woke up crying for months. I thought after a few months that the pain “should” lessen and I “should” begin to feel like myself again. Little did I know, that’s not how losing a child works; it’s not how grief works. Grief is just love with nowhere to go. Did I stop loving my daughter after a few months? Of course not! So, why would I think that my grief was supposed to disappear so quickly?

Healing is not linear. You do not just get better and better and better until one day you are your old self again. You can have 5 good days and then a really really bad day that makes you feel like you aren’t making any progress at all. I have been there. I have been right where you are, or right where you were. When I felt like I couldn’t take it for another second, I called my OBGYN, because leaving the hospital she warned me this could happen and I was to call her. She said something to me I will never forget, she asked me if I was putting one foot in front of the other. Of course I said “yes.” She said, “then you are moving in the right direction.”

What I didn’t understand at the time is that grief is a zig zag; it isn’t linear. So I was begging and waiting for healing that looked linear, not healing that looked like a zig zag. The zig zag is actually what healing looks like, and that is perfectly normal. It was after that phone call that I realized that zig zagging was okay and I was feeling a little tiny bit of relief, and that is the progress I was hoping for.

I no longer wait for the day when “it’s all going to go away.” Instead, I work on my mindset and my grief LIKE IT’S MY JOB. It’s a daily practice and priority. As my Dad told me, time does not heal all wounds, it’s what you do with the time that heals you. If you are zig zagging, then you are moving in the right direction.

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