Grief and When

Personal losses bring grief.

Adoption is packed with losses, whether it is infertility grief for a biological child that will never be, or the obvious grief for letting a child go to another family. Along with the grief comes the question of “when.”

When? When will I be better? When will I stop hurting? When will the grieving end? When will I feel like myself again? When?

One of the hardest parts of grieving is that it is uncharted. It is unique to each individual. It ebbs and flows. Other people will tell you things like “time heals all wounds,” but they are unable to say if that vague reference to “time” is a day, a week, a month or a year. It is merely “time.”

If only there was a solid road map or path for grief to take. If only it was a matter of looking forward to a year from now and knowing with absolute certainty that your emotions would be in check, that your feelings would not be sending you into the depths, and that the sun would again be able to shine, you could handle the sorrow of today.

You know where this is going. There is no such road map. There is no magic date. 

Healing from a loss is a series of small steps forward.

There will be setbacks that feel as if the world is caving in on you. Keep taking those small steps forward. Disregard those who tell you “just get over it.” That phrase says more about the speaker and their own discomfort with grief than it does your own healing.

Resist the urge to compare your grief healing to anyone else’s.

Another person may look fine on the outside, and tell you that they are fine, but their inside is screaming a different story. And even if that other person really is “fine,” that other person is not you. 

The good news of grieving is that the “when” will come. It will arrive for you at its own pace and its own speed. It may ease into your days, surprising you as you realize the pain has lessened. 

Until that day arrives, know that there are people who will listen and hold space for you. Your grief is your own, but you are not alone.