On Healing

Albert smiling.

elderly man looks sad The first three months after his wife Vivian died reminded Albert of years earlier, when he was recovering from coronary bypass surgery. Not because death was on his mind, but because he sensed that he was once again in the middle of a long healing process. 

He recalled expecting the surgery itself to be the hard part. But the first few weeks after the procedure were intense. He had to go to cardiac rehabilitation several times every week and learn new exercises and techniques for managing his stress. His wife threw out his soda and cigarettes, replacing them with carrot sticks and a pedometer. The incision on his chest itched unbearably at night as it came together to form a thick scar.

Healing, Albert had learned, was not something that simply happened on its own. It required effort from him, support from friends and family, and ultimately a shift in his own perspective. 

As the weeks after his wife’s funeral passed and he settled into a new routine without her by his side, Albert realized that his grief would be a similar kind of work - painful but necessary.