Pain is a funny thing. Yet, not funny at all. When you feel it, it’s all encompassing. It’s hard to see or feel or think about anything but the pain. It feels like nothing else exists and nothing else ever will. Whether physical pain or emotional pain, when pain takes hold, life becomes harder than ever to navigate. Three months ago, when my husband and I decided to put our 13 year old dog down, we knew it was time. We knew it was the right decision, we knew it was the only option left. Yet, that moment, the moment we felt him take his last breath, pain struck me square in the gut like I’d never felt before. It was hard to breathe, hard to see straight.
Trying to wrap my head around the fact that he was there and now he was gone, was impossible to comprehend at first. He was there, by our sides EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for 13 and a half years. How could he just be…gone? The pain was crippling. My mind raced, how would I ever survive the loss of my parents or my husband? I wouldn’t, I couldn’t. The pain of a broken heart can be terminal, can’t it? How could it not?
But then pain’s nemesis slowly began to appear. The one and only thing that can ease the torment and agony of pain. TIME. Something you have absolutely no control over but have to put your trust in explicitly. Pain is temporary and time is what heals, even if ever so slowly.
We left the vet that day not knowing where to turn or how to function. We cried a lot that day, hard, ugly, breathless sobs. A few days passed and the crying subsided but we were constantly reminded of him. Thinking he should be there but he’s not there…how would that ever change. There was a big, gaping hole in our lives. A space that was always occupied, that now was not. It was a hole filled with pain. How would that feeling of emptiness ever go away? Like an open wound on the body, it too began to close. Over time. The pain was eventually replaced with memories that made us smile instead of cry.
Time heals all. It’s been said a million times. But in the moment, pain has a funny way of making time feel inferior. How can time heal if the tight grasp of pain makes you feel as though time has stopped? It all comes down to trust. In the last two years I’ve experienced tremendous physical pain and emotional pain. Both of which healed…over time. But I had to trust the process. Fighting it will get you nowhere. It’s a process that cannot be rushed or solved in any other way. Mending our brains and our bodies is no small task. The solution does not lie at the bottom of a bottle…alcoholic, pharmaceutical or otherwise. We so badly want to take control, to feel relief. We don’t want to accept that there is no other way out besides waiting it out. The ugly truth is that sometimes we just have to feel the pain. You may feel trapped, but you WILL come out the other side. There will be light and relief and joy in your life again…you have to trust that that exists and then let it find you. Even if it takes time.