For most of my life I’ve heard the phrase “time heals a broken heart.” I’m not sure how I feel about that statement now. I do see how one can make the assertion; I think I’m better prepared to face the second anniversary of Carter’s death than the first, and truthfully, I think I will be able to cope with the day’s stresses better than a year ago.
Equally true, my heart is still broken; it is far from being “healed” and I really don’t think it will ever be healed. We must decide how to define “healed”. The dictionary definition is the past-tense of heal which is “to become sound or healthy again.” Some synonyms are cure, restore to health. Another definition is “to alleviate a person’s distress or anguish (‘time can heal the pain of grief’).”
When we lost Carter the pain was so intense and consuming. Our bodies and our minds could not tolerate that kind of stress forever (it would be a pretty short forever if we tried). So we instinctively began the process of coping and adjusting to a new normal. That does take time and maybe that’s the message the old saying was trying to convey.
But that isn’t healed. My heart is still broken; I expect it will always be broken but I am coping better after two years than after one year. This statement should not imply that everything is fine. I’ve been on an almost uncontrollable eating frenzy (my reaction to stress); not exactly what a diabetic needs to do. Combine that with the absence of a consistent exercise routine and the result is definitely not the direction one would desire to go. Looming ahead in early June is my next blood test and doctor visit; not enough time to reverse what I’ve been doing to improve results.
If the first two years are an indication we will relive “hell week” in our minds several times with frayed emotions. We’ll grieve for Carter, his mom and dad and we’ll think about what he would be like now. We will also drop some flowers into the water somewhere at 3:08 ET, the time Carter was pronounced dead. We’ll celebrate his short life, weep and grieve for his absence, and then we’ll try to put the pieces of our lives back together and move forward.