I often hear these words from grieving clients, “I am in year two of this grief. I thought time was supposed to heal, but I feel worse. What is wrong with me?”
“Time heals” implies there is a relationship between the passage of time and sadness; more time past the loss equals less pain. Most folks expect the first year to be tough. Going through all of the “firsts” of holidays, birthdays and anniversaries is often an excruciating reality of the loved one’s absence. Why then do the second year and subsequent years feel so hard?
One answer is simply that more time means more distance from the physical presence of the loved one who died. The experience of yearning grows rather than diminishes with time. Grief does change with time. But the expectation of “if only I can get through the first year” does not account for the profound missing of the physical connection to the loved one who had died. Yearning may be present into the second year and beyond.