I remember reading in the adoption forums for months and seeing parents post constantly that the old adage "Love Is All You Need" is a pile of horse crap. It's not. Love is not enough. It's not enough when you are parenting. It's not enough to sustain a relationship or marriage. It's not enough to overcome obstacles. Love is not enough. Sorry if I just shattered any long held beliefs for you there, or if you are outraged that I might proclaim that the greatest emotion of all just isn't all it's chalked up to be, the magical emotion that rights the wrongs of the world. Love isn't enough.
Time also does not heal all wounds. It's fascinating to me that in one context our society tries to tell us that feeling and feeling that emotion intensely will fix any issue laid at it's feet. Love hard enough and all bad things will be put away. Love, if it's real and pure, will hold a marriage together. However if the issue is something painful, then instead of feeling it deeply, we tell you that if you wait it out, and try not to feel it as intensely, that it will somehow just dissipate on it's own and feeling it will not help the situation. So feeling good emotions = save the world and fix all the evils. Feeling bad emotions = ignore those, they'll go away at some point, you don't want those around.
Maybe I struggle with this concept so intensely because I am quite a literal person. The feeling of love isn't enough. Literally. The conscious decisions to work on a marriage, to converse more appropriately, to process when one is feeling resentment and letting go of anger and frustrations, challenging negative thinking about their partner, ensuring they begin conversations with a softened approach instead of a "harsh startup", working on repair attempts after a fight, THESE are all choices that save a marriage. The exact same sentiment applies to parenting. Choices, decisions, conscious awareness to do things a certain way and to not do others are what makes a good parent. Not just simply feeling a strong emotion.
The problem with grief and loss of any kind is that time never makes the loss itself any different. The loss is still there. The relationship still existed. I was still Rhiannon's mom, even when time carries me 70 years away from the day I birthed her. I still exist in the role of parent and time does not heal status the last time I checked. It doesn't change life roles. So if I am eternally a parent, then it would appear that time is not enough to help the pain.
If time was the great healer, then we wouldn't prescribe antibiotics to an infection. Time in fact in some situations only makes it far worse. Leaving an infection that needs to be treated to just simply heal with time can lead to MRSA, deeper infection that becomes septic, or can lead to a needed amputation. I can't say time fixed crap. Intervention did. Just waiting out a situation can make it toxic and festering deeply under the surface of the heart, just like a cut on your arm.
If time was also a healer, then it also means that ignoring pain and grief are the only ways to "get through" until it's somehow magically "gone" one day. So if I just ignore Ree, one day I'll stop loving her? And therefore I'll stop missing her and then I'll stop hurting. Somehow that doesn't seem highly logical.
Why are we so uncomfortable with pain and sadness? Why do we need so desperately to put a time frame on when pain should lessen, lest we begin labeling it as a clinical issue? Why are we so in need of pushing the concept of lessening one emotion, but heralding another as the cure-all for the planet that we need to increase in boatloads? Why is it so important to people that we stop hurting, or that we stop hurting by 6 months or a year or 5 years?
I get that we need to function. Those things are all thing that must continue to have a semblance of a satisfying life. I fully agree. And yet again, those are actions, decisions, conscious choices. Not FEELINGS. I can have a fully functioning life where I am able to engage in society in a meaningful way, and still feel grief at the exact same time. Why does grief need a timeline if love does not? Can I not be allowed the ability to grieve daily for the rest of our lives and yet still carry on with living and living fully? The ending of grief is the ending of recognition of loss, and unless we develop Alzheimers or Dementia, I'm pretty sure we will be unable to forget or recognize the loss of our daughter.
We will grieve her until the day we die and I'm here to tell you, especially those of you that are so uncomfortable with sad emotions, that it's completely ok for us to feel that way. And you don't need to try and rescue us from it or make it go away. It's ok if we feel sad even 10 years from now. You don't need to make it stop. We're ok with it.