Does time really heal all wounds? - Something beautiful happened to me...

In less than a year, it’ll be exactly twenty years since my parents died. Twenty years is a very long time and a not-so-long time depending on how I look at it. On the one hand, there is no amount of time that makes what happened to me any less traumatic, yet on the other hand, twenty years could perhaps be considered as “more than enough time” to “get over it”. That being said, something beautiful happened to me last month that gave me an interesting answer to the question “does time really heal all wounds?”. In today’s blog post I’d like to tell you what happened and share my thoughts. As always, I truly hope this inspires and motivates you. Enjoy!


If you’ve lost a loved one, you know that certain dates and/or events may trigger nostalgia and even negative emotions such as regret, guilt, sadness, etc. In my personal experience birthdays, holidays, death anniversaries and other meaningful dates and periods can be difficult. For me, my parents’ birthdays and their death anniversary have always been particularly difficult…


Quick side note, I use Grammarly for spelling and grammar checks, and the app thought that I meant to write “anniversaries” in plural instead of “anniversary” as I wrote when referring to the day my parents died - sometimes I just can’t believe that they died on the same day and that they share the same death anniversary! Like wow!


…Anyway, back to today’s topic, each year, when these dates approach, no matter how busy and chaotic life gets, I literally start feeling physically sick and nervous. It is as though my mind begins to relive the trauma of finding out that my parents had died in a horrific car accident, and my body subsequently reacts. Even when I choose to or am able to celebrate on these dates, there is always a piece of me that is somewhat anxious and sad - but this year, something crazy happened, something that has never happened in the past nineteen years: I forgot about my parents’ birthdays…


Okay, so you might be thinking “what’s the big deal, Stella?”, but please bear with me and I’ll explain. See, my father was born on June 12th and my mother was born on June 13th. Since they died, I have always seen these dates come from a mile away, consciously starting a mental countdown to prepare myself. In my nineteen years of orphanhood, I have never forgotten, not even once; and these two dates have been a reminder of my love for my parents. In fact, every year it has felt like time slows down right before June 12th, giving me time to reflect and reminisce; every year except for this year because I literally forgot.


…back to the story, on June 14th I randomly realised that I had forgotten about my parents’ birthdays. I didn’t feel a shred of guilt or sadness. I simply ordered some cake and my husband and I kinda celebrated my parents’ lives. So, what does this mean? How does this give an answer to whether time heals all wounds or not? To answer these questions, I think it is important to understand the saying. Merriam-Webster explains that the phrase “time heals all wounds” simply means that “feelings of sadness, disappointment, etc., gradually go away as time passes”. You may think that all this happened because it’s been so long since my parents died, but that’s not really the reason.


I officially started my grief healing journey a year ago, meaning I actively took tangible steps towards healing for the very first time back in 2021. Not only did I start attending regular therapy sessions, but I also made significant changes to my life in order to begin the emotional healing process, which is something I did not do prior to 2021. See, for the first seventeen years of my orphanhood, I treated my grief wound with bandaids, ignoring the core of my trauma and hence preventing true healing and growth. I think many of us do this, believing that with time we’ll feel and do better, but the truth is that emotional and mental trauma requires attention and specific treatment just as physical trauma does. You cannot wait for time to heal a broken leg without any specific interventions, and the same applies to a broken heart. True healing is a journey you need to consciously embark on, and 2021 was the year for me.


While the fact that I forgot about my parents’ birthdays for the very first time in nineteen years may be linked to the extensive time that has passed since they died, the healing bit is linked to the time I have spent genuinely and consciously working on myself. The time that has passed since the tragic accident may have been a contributing factor to me forgetting, but the time I have spent thus far on my true grief healing journey is definitely the reason I did not beat myself up and rather just celebrated with no feelings of regret. This makes me realise that time on its own is not a healer. It may seem that it is on the surface, but the time that truly heals is the time you spend consciously healing and actively embracing the healing process.


So, does time really heal all wounds? Well yes, sure; but the key here is that the time that heals is the time you spend actually healing.


Peace and love, always…


Stella