Replace ‘It Gets Better With Time’ With ‘This Sucks.’
They say, ‘Time heals all wounds’, ‘It gets better with time’, ‘You’ll feel better in time’. ‘It takes time’, they say. ‘Just give it some time’.
Time as healer of grief.
I call bullshit.
Lies. Brutal savage lies. All of them.
Niceties. Platitudes. Cliche.
To the griever, these feel banal. Trite. Trivial. How can you so blatantly lie to us like this? Why? Why would you lie to us when we are in so much pain? We thought you loved us. But you’re lying to us!
In all fairness, these words might be something that an early griever would possibly take some comfort in. For no other reason than the fact that we’re human and want — need — something to hold on to.
Some form of hope. Some piece of ‘It’ll be okay again’ or ‘I’ll survive this horrible devastating shitstorm’.
Because early grief is that time when your limbs are frozen in the burning cold of a hazy fog; your mind is so scrambled that you can’t put a coherent thought together.
Your heart seems to be slowly, painfully and irreparably coming apart at the seams, and shattering and splintering and completely undoing; anything that looks like actual normal functioning is just the innate response of the cerebral cortex kicking into autopilot in an attempt to just stay alive.
Survival mode. Fight-or-flight. A last-ditch effort to just stay in this hemisphere and not float away and combust.
Time as a healer of grief? How do you figure? Please, I’d love to understand the logic in this. Because I don’t care how much time passess. My beloved mother is still dead. Gone. Not alive and not coming back. No amount of time fixes that. No amount of time makes that okay.
No amount of time brings… her… back.
Where I sit, I’m 14 months out from losing my mother. The year following her death was unbearable. I wanted to die. I buried myself in a cocoon of blankets. I couldn’t understand why she had been taken from us so soon, so out of order, so abruptly, so unnecessarily. So tragically. So unexpectedly.
She was too young. She was too healthy. She had so much to live for and see and do. So much love to share. So much life in her. So much left to give, and so much left to experience. Yet, she’s dead. And nothing anyone can do or say will bring her back. Not even time.
And now I have to learn how to be a daughter, a woman, wife and mother, a friend, a living human, without her. The first year, faced with all the firsts without her, and remembering all the lasts with her. All of it shrouded in the heavy haze of grief fog.
Now, in Year Two, the fog starts to lift, ever so slightly. I made it a year. I survived those firsts and lasts. And just when I think that maybe, just maybe, I’ll be okay… wham… I miss her! I miss her so desperately that I feel the longing in every cell of my body and every breathe that I take.
I miss my mother. I miss being her daughter. I miss her voice and her laugh. Her smile and the sparkle in her eyes. Her awful singing voice and sweet girlish giggle. Her cooking. Her motherly nagging. Her telephone calls and texts. Her mothering. Her friendship. Her support and guidance.
Her shoulder to cry on. Her scent. Her.
I miss her.
And every single day that ticks by without her, I miss her more. I miss her more! It’s not getting easier or better or more bearable. It’s worse. Because in those early days of grief, I missed the thought of her not being here. But I was still naive to the reality of what it all meant.
But now, now I miss the reality of her not being here. The finality. The ‘oh my god, she’s really gone and not coming back, and how am I going to go another day without her’.
I miss her more today than I did yesterday. And I’ll miss her more tomorrow than I did today. Yet time is going by, and it’s not getting better.
I understand that you want to make me feel better, you don’t want me to be sad and heartbroken. So you do what you think sounds right, and you tell me about time. But please, I’m begging you, please don’t tell me about time.
Because time is just a reminder of all the days ahead that she won’t be here. All the days ahead that I will miss her more. Instead, tell me that you know it sucks. Because it does. That’s the truth. This sucks. Plain and simple. This is awful and horrible and heartbreaking. I need you to understand that.
Tell me how awful and horrible and heartbreaking it is. Those are my truths. Those are what will make me feel not so alone. A little understood. Cherished for my loss.
Say it with me, This sucks. No amount of time is going to take away the suckage.
So please, just remove that old platitude from your vocabulary and replace it with a good ole This sucks..
Melissa Dodson is a California girl who found her home in the trees of Portland, OR. She’s a wife and mom, a writer and a Death Midwife. She writes about being a motherless daughter, grief, depression, vulnerability, and the beauty of a messy life. She is a dream-catcher, a grief-warrior, a survivor, a book-whore. Her work has been featured on Rebelle Society, The Tattooed Buddha, The Manifest-Station, behind-the-ink, and Some Talk of You & Me. You can follow her blog, or find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.