There's Just Some Things That Time Cannot Erase...

"Still Haunting me"
Annemie Odendaal - Charcoal
Once while visiting in Washington, I saw a park with statues for unknown fallen soldiers. It stirred something inside of me, not specifically because it was for soldiers, just because of the intense pain I felt when I saw it. It somehow echoed my own pain and loss. I came back home and immediately drew this sketch, to remind me of how moved I was by this incident.

Do you know how much pain you carry inside of you? Can you name it, or does it just drift around in a muddy sea of confusion and grief?

We mostly mask out our pain, ignoring it - Heaven forbid we are ungrateful for everything we are blessed with. But every time when we get confronted with pain again (whether it is ours or somebody else's), all those feelings come flooding back, and leave us with an unbearable deeply rooted and raw pain.

Pablo Neruda said: "Like a flower to its perfume, I am bound to my vague memory of you. I live with pain that is like a wound; if you touch me, you will do me irreparable harm."  

Does time heal all wounds? Being a tortured artist most of my life, I know pain very well. I never believed time heals all wounds (and I still don't). This caused me a great deal of anguish and heartache in my life. Like a certain song's lyrics goes: "These wounds won't seem to heal. This pain is just too real. There's just some things that time cannot erase."

Much later in my life, after I found real love, I suddenly realised one day that my pain is less. In fact, I don't even notice it anymore. Even when I get confronted with pain, death or sorrow, I do not have the strong reaction I used to have. I realised that love brought a certain kind of balance into my life. 

Without noticing it, this new found love and security broke down the walls of pain bit by bit. Barely noticeable at first, until one day you suddenly see the sun breaking through, and then you realise that it happened.

You are free.

Maybe pain can heal. Not by time though, but through true love and forgiveness.


  1. What an intense and emotional piece on this subject - and very well written.
    A subject too painful to contemplate over the space of a comment, but real and present - in all of us.
    And maybe life is a big part of handling and stilling and confronting that pain - in many cases bringing one to the gate of choice where there is just is no parting with pain or no continuing with it after that gate.
    It is these gates that shines as milestones in one's life and from where one can look back and say - that was my moment of release, of redemption and of being set free.
    Sometimes when I look at these ugly art pictures which revolts with any feeling within me and stirs up emotions of rebellion and pain - and even hatred, I suppose they bring me back to the pain I so carefully hide and mask.
    One last note - one must look more to the therapeutic value of addressing that pain. It starts as a very painful incision without aneasthetic, but slowly and with effort echo later only as a dull pain as in a long recovered schrapnel wound.
    The emotional pain is far more acute than the physical one - and endures for much longer, and can even manifest itself in physical pain.
    Let us walk this road less travelled and find ourselves ultimately free, having walked it so bravely, proudly and lonely.

  2. What to do if one endures pain daily to spare someone else the pain they will experience if you decide to rid yourself of that which causes you pain? Even though they are the cause of some of it? To remain a rhetorical question.

  3. @ above comment #2: No one should be carrying someone else's burden, we are only responsible for our own cross. It is not noble, you are stunting someone else's growth.