• Ruth

Does Time Really Heal All Wounds?

Today, three years ago (28th June 2018), I was at an outdoor bar, drinking and dancing with friends when I received a text message that said; "I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad".... Frantic phonecalls to my Dad just kept going straight to voicemail and then the call to my Mum confirmed my worst nightmare. My Dad suffered a huge heart attack that afternoon and died instantly. PAUSE. This is not the way my mum had planned for me to find out. Behind the scenes my Mum had called my uncle who was picking me up and taking me home the next morning and who was supposed to break the news. She'd called my then boyfriend and told him to be there tomorrow when I got home. There was a plan. Luckily my best friend was there to scrape me off the Waterloo pavement (that particular spot I've never been back to) and came with me on the train to Portsmouth where my uncle was meeting us. That night I spent the whole time remembering our last day together, trying desperately to remember every line on his face, every mannerism, every laugh. Anything to bulletproof my brain to not forget. That night never leaves me. I remember every moment. But the every day moments aren't as clear as they used to be. In my rational moments I can be kind and say why would it be? They were just every day moments. But on my slightly crueler days, I'm heartless, I've moved on and forgotten him - argh grief's shit. I agree that there are the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance and although grief comes in waves, with Dad it's been easier to see with time the different stages. I've recently joined a support group specifically for people who have lost parents due to cancer so that's my space to talk about Mum and the affect it's had on me. But honestly, after months of therapy and having family and friends I can speak to openly about it. I'm not angry anymore, I'm accepting of what's happened and being the only one I recognise that feels at that stage in a support group with others is actually bringing its own level of guilt. Should I be more angry? Should I be crying more? Am I void of human emotion? But in reality, I'm just different. Everyone's relationship with parents are different. Everyone's relationship with extended family is also different. Sure, we had the usual dose of money grabbers and diva's prancing around left, right and centre but my immediate family unit was unshakable. Everyone in the support group has valid feelings and it's such a comfort to share experiences with them. But just as I treat their feelings with respect. I should also treat my own feelings the same way. (Plus I'm not completely accepting. I've been known to totally rant, rave and swear about it from time to time too! It's quite cathartic!) So does time really heal all wounds? No, I don't think so. I would even argue that I don't want it to. The pain gets less, which is usually why we use this saying to comfort those in pain. But the death of my parents, the break down of important relationships and the failures that come as part of being a musician have left scars that make me who I am. Losing my parents has made me truly grateful for the little things and the love and the lessons they taught me (even when it's a bad wave and I'm just crying, begging for them to come back). Relationship breakdowns have made me realise how incredible my group of close friends are and how life on your own is actually bloody brilliant. It's not as scary as you thought and you don't need someone else to validate you. But best of all, my failures that have crippled me so much in the past have now become my best weapon in my writing and my teaching. As time goes on, one thing that always brings me comfort is the thought that they're with me. They're watching me grow and make choices. So on the days were I'm feeling like I'm too happy, I try to remember that they're still my parents. They still want to see me perform, to fall in love, to celebrate my successes and have an ethereal whiskey when shit hits the fan. That, is how time heals for me. All my love,