When Will I Be Healed?

November 18, 2015


There is a question mulling around grieving hearts. When…

When will I be healed? When will I be restored to the person I once was?


There is even speculation amongst some further along on the path, those who may wear the badge of honor as a survivor of raw grief. They fought the good fight…and feel invigorated to be still standing on the other side. Rightly so. Some may say they can point to the day or hour when they experienced healing from their grief. While this may be a comfort to those longing for a day when they can proclaim healing…it may be another painful measuring stick to many. Another thing they are missing, longing for…another way to fall short. Because what does that say about one who still stumbles along in the dark…one whose heart still throbs with ache…one who feels the weight of grief’s pit, wondering when she will find relief? Is she somehow missing the elusive lesson…has she not performed well enough if her heart remains heavy? Or what of those who have felt some healing…those who spend much of their days in the new normal embracing joy…but feel their hearts pierced with the missing from time to time, wounds suddenly fresh even years later…open, gaping, bleeding anew? Were they mistaken…are they no longer “healed” because they still walk with a limp, a forever reminder of what’s missing?

Healing…like grief…is perpetual. It doesn’t happen in a day or a moment. It is a lifelong journey. Because grief is a lifelong journey. There are broken places on this broken planet. Broken places in hearts filled with the missing. That isn’t to say that healing is not part of our journey. It is…a magical, hopeful and very real part of living life this side of heaven. But, who can say we are ever fully healed while living earthside?

For, we may find revelation and joy…creativity and rebirth. We find sacred gifts, beauty woven in our broken. Beauty that could not be born another way. And, those healing gifts are precious. They are by no means diminished by the ache of missing that parallels our healing dance.

Please, dear mamas and daddies…hear this…

No one…No one is allowed or even qualified to tell you when you will find healing or what heals you.

What may bring comfort and healing to me may cause further hurt to you. We are each created unique…and so is our grief…and so is our mending. No one should judge your performance in grief, nor point to a timetable to determine when you should be all better. You will never be the person you once were. We need love and grace. You can’t change what others try to do, or whether they understand or misunderstand your path through the wilderness of grief. But, you can do something about the way it permeates your heart.

So, when it happens…

When you feel isolated, disregarded, misunderstood, judged, rushed, or measured…not only by those who have never walked through the wilderness of grief…but even by those who are among you…please know this…

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no lesson that you just have to grasp to find healing…to find a way to survive. Getting up each day, taking the next breath, doing the next thing…in raw grief, those are precious victories. Over time, you will move to laughing without guilt, remembering with a smile. You will feel joy. You may try something new. Embrace the new normal. Time may mean days, months, or years. And, that’s ok. And, over the years…as they slip through your fingers like sand through the hourglass, when missing moments grip your heart…all is not lost. You are simply feeling the ache of missing as those scabbed wounds ooze…the ache from wounds that will remain this side of heaven. Leaving the scars as reminders that someone worthy of missing once lived here…someone dearly loved.

Likely…You may not be on the path of the woman online with the beautiful art or words. Perhaps you are not the woman in the church pew who can sing the worship songs without breaking down. You are not the person with the trite answers to all your questions who seems to have it all figured out.

You are you…uniquely you. And, your path through this wilderness…whether jagged and jaded, winding and long, full of shortcuts, times of respite, times on the victorious mountain or in the pits of the valley…it is YOUR path. No one else. No one else loved your child the way you did. No one else must live out your remaining days on earth. Just you. There are enough things that are isolating and misunderstood about grieving the loss of a child. Your way of healing…your ongoing healing journey…should not be one of them.

Photo by Marshall Photography


  • Kelly Gerken

    Kelly Gerken is the president and founder of Sufficient Grace Ministries, an organization providing perinatal hospice services, bereavement support and Dreams of You memory-making materials to families facing the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death and the death of a young child. Kelly has walked through the loss of three of her five children, and now reaches out to walk with other grieving families as an SGM perinatal loss support doula and SGM Remembrance Photographer. She is a creator and facilitator of training for birth professionals on compassionate care for bereaved parents facing perinatal loss. Her memoir, Sufficient Grace, was published in 2014. You can read more about Kelly's journey of grace, hope and healing and the outreaches of SGM, order resources or find her book here: www.sufficientgraceministries.org.

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