Time heals all wounds. How many times I have said that. Then, after my husband Jim’s death, how many times I heard it. The first time I heard it, I was immediately sorry for every time that phrase had passed through my lips. I vowed to never say it again and I haven’t. Instead, I tell the truth as I have found it to be. I tell people who have recently lost a very significant person in their lives to death that the first year is the hardest 365 days they will ever face and the second year, especially in the beginning, won’t be much better. It is a path strewn with obstacles, fear, grief, anger, betrayal, loss and a brokenness that feels like it will never end. As soon as one “first anniversary without” passes, another one is on it’s heels. And if no anniversary is imminent, there are the songs, movies, people and places that bring the loss so close it threatens to suffocate me. Alone, I am no challenge to such deep pain. I, on my own, would have folded the first week, tucked my tail between my legs and given up. But I wasn’t alone. He who knows all about me, including the horrifying loneliness and gut-wrenching emptiness, was with me. When I was unable to hold my head up, He held it for me. When I went days without sleeping or eating, He knew. When I broke down and sobbed because I had no place for the hurt to go, He stroked my hair. When I found no joy in photography, He showed me something incredible. He made me realize that I was not, nor had I ever been, alone. He showed me that I, though lost without Jim, had to heal before I could carry on for His glory. Healing is still a work in progress. It has been nearly two years, and while my thoughts are no longer consumed by Jim, I think of him several times a day. There is nothing wrong with that. At first, I felt guilt that my mind wasn’t filled with thoughts of him and cried about that nearly every day. I had no peace. That stunted my healing significantly. But, always faithful, God led me past that guilt into a place that let me find pieces of myself that I had hidden away during the months when I refused to feel joy. How, I asked myself many times, could I laugh and be joyful when the man I had given my heart to was dead. The real truth was revealed. Without my Heavenly Father, there would have been no joy to start with. With Him, I could feel joy and sorrow, loss and laughter, grief and happiness, all at the same time and it was ok. He showed me where peace was and, low and behold, it was right where I had left it… in His love. Healing really did begin after that realization but it wasn’t time that healed me, it was Jesus. So the truth is this: Time doesn’t heal anything … It only gives faith and grace the time to work as healing comes with reliance on the Lord. Whether the healing time is a few weeks or a few years, if God is given control, healing will, without doubt or reservations, come, and time will continue to pass because that’s what it does.