One year later: Time heals all wounds

I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are One. Namasté. – Ram Dass

Peggy Brown Bryson: 8/1/30 – 7/14/09

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die. ~ Amelia Burr

Letting go

On July 4th, 2009, my grandmother made the decision to end the treatments that were keeping her alive.  In all seriousness – let’s face what no one likes to talk about – she was not “living” anymore. She stopped grasping at the possibility of life in the future and embraced the life she’d already lived.  Her withering body was no longer able to carry the brave, vibrant, amazing woman inside.  She knew she would die in seven to fifteen days without dialysis.  It wasn’t that she’d given up and it wasn’t that Multiple Myeloma had beaten her.  As the saying goes, “Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be.”

with my mom and grandpa

On July 14th, 2009, we sat mostly in silence, communicating like we often did with the occasional smile, squeeze of a hand or offering of water. I knew it was one of the last times I’d be with her.  At 7pm, she started dozing, so I hugged her, said I loved her and went to yoga.  I fully relaxed my mind and body at the end of my practice.  I was emotionally exhausted, but calm and content.  Around 10pm, a nurse at the hospital called my cell phone because I was her emergency contact.  She was gone. I still to this day am so thankful for what the nurse said to comfort me: “She fell asleep and went peacefully.”

My mom and brother were arriving on July 15th at noon, so they were unable to say their final Goodbyes as they’d hoped.  On July 20th, my grandmother’s little brother (my great uncle) died in his sleep.  Timing is a strange beast, isn’t it?

with her brother

Time heals all wounds

Five months ago, I wrote a post about my grandmother.  I shared with you the poem I read at her memorial service: The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.  In that poem, Oriah says:

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I wish none of us had to experience grief, but death is an inevitable part of human existence.  People often say, “Time heals all wounds.”  I’ve said it to myself and others.  It is a very true statement on some level.  The phrase does not begin to express how one can feel as though his or her heart was physically removed through the chest.  The phrase cannot touch the aches, the nightmares, the tears, the vomiting, the anger or the sadness induced by watching someone I love slowly die.  The phrase cannot make up for what you have felt (and probably what you still feel) because you lost a child, a sibling, a parent, a mentor, a friend.

I used to hide my pain from myself and others.  I used to run from it or repress it or drown it.  The expression of emotion, specifically pain, is not a weakness, despite what we are often taught.  Now I know I must feel the pain before I can move past it.  I must sit with the pain and tend to it before I can heal.  But it is true that over time, we can make the choice to move on.  We should not cling to pain, but instead we can learn to appropriately cope with loss so we can grow.  The flesh wounds heal and leave scars.  The scars stay with us forever so we never forget, but time allows us to move on. And ultimately, I must move on.

I couldn’t have gotten through the last year without the support of my friends and family. I will never be able to repay you for your time, calls, texts, hugs and love. Namasté.




“I hope I have followed The Golden Rule all my life.  Not that it will get me into Heaven.  It has just been my guideline in this life to prevent me from fearing death.” ~ Peggy Brown Bryson, as written in one of her private journals

with my little brother

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9 thoughts on “One year later: Time heals all wounds

  1. Pingback: #Reverb10: Heal me
  2. What a timely post. I have been sitting with my memories of my mother who also decided it was time to let go and then she did so, ever so peacefully, at Hospice on July 2, 2010 just six days shy of her 90th birthday. Letting go is a blessed relief for the one who bears all of the pain – I keep that in mind as I struggle to let go of her presence but not my memories.

    1. It is very difficult to come to terms with the loss. You are so right that letting go can be a blessing. For me, knowing my grandmother is no longer in pain like she was in those last few months brings me more comfort. I’m so glad your mother was able to go peacefully on her own terms. Still, I know it doesn’t make your heart hurt any less. Sending you my thoughts and many hugs.

  3. ::hugs::

    The closest thing I have is when my high school closed. Maybe it’s a midwest thing, or maybe Chicago, but you’re proud of what high school you attended. The rivalry, the pride but most of all, the love you have for the school, faculty and classmate.

    It was a long and slow death. In the beginning of the 103rd year of the school, it was announced that it was closing. At that time, I had the distinct honor of being a faculty member. I had 9 months to say goodbye. Each day was close to the end; and yet, each day was a bigger celebration of its life and glory.

    Alums would stop by staying goodbye. The most memorable of all alums saying goodbye was a grandfather, son and grandson. The grandfather was a graduate in the 50s. The son graduated in the 80s. The grandson was not of high school age yet. I took them to memorial hall where students would sneak into and sign their names in the east attic, dating back to 1919. The grandfather was bawling when he saw history before him. The son was biting his lips holding back tears. The grandson went up to hug his grandfather and said, “Wow. You were a part of this [history]? This is amazing.”

    When they left, I shook the hands of the sadden grandson who realized he could not continue on the tradition. The son thanked me for showing that he is part of something greater that he has forgotten. And the grandfather, he flatten told me, “This is one of the most important experiences of my life [then and now].”

    He was right.

    Today, I’m back at my defunct high school, now converted into an office building. I am it’s guardian. The wound still runs deep, but time does heal the pain of its passing. But the love will always be ever present.

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