The old adage, time heals all wounds, is only true if there is no suppuration within. To be bitter, to lament unceasingly ‘Why did this have to happen to him?’ makes the wound fester; the mind, renewing the stab, causes the wound to bleed afresh.
It is hard, very hard, not to be bitter in the early days, not to blame doctors, hospitals, drugs, that failed to cure. Harder still for the woman whose husband died not by illness, but by accident, who was cut short in full vigour, in the prime of life, killed perhaps by a car crash returning home from work. The first instinct is to seek revenge on the occupants of the other car, themselves unhurt, whose selfish excess of speed caused the disaster. Yet this is no answer to grief. All anger, all reproach, turns inwards upon itself. The infection spreads, pervading mind and body.
I would say to those who mourn – and I can only speak from my own experience – look upon each day that comes as a challenge, as a test of courage. The pain will come in waves, some days worse than others, for no apparent reason. Accept the pain. Do not suppress it. Never attempt to hide grief from yourself. Little by little, just as the deaf, the blind, the handicapped develop with time an extra sense to balance disability, so the bereaved, the widowed, will find new strength, new vision, born of the very pain and loneliness which seem, at first, impossible to master. I address myself more especially to the middle-aged who, like myself, look back to over 30 years or more of married life and find it hardest to adapt. The young must, of their very nature, heal sooner than ourselves.
DAPHNE DU MAURIER