There are cuts and wounds so deep and irregular that doctors, in an effort to close them, have no choice but to extend them outwards. Ironically, elongating a wound, well past the boundaries of the original trauma, sometimes is the only way to ensure it has a chance to heal properly.
I found myself thinking about this yesterday.
I was at work and was letting my mind wander while revisiting the moments that had stitched the day together, and somewhere between one thought ending and another beginning, a memory of you crept in.
And for the first time in months, I felt that familiar tug.
It wasn’t a feeling of pain… more a feeling of tension. And for a moment, it was as if every memory of you was being pulled taut, almost to the point of breaking.
It was kind of like the sensation of a suture repeatedly being pulled through a numbed laceration.
And in that moment, I just needed to hear your voice. Your voice was the only thing I could think of that could slacken what was being pulled tight somewhere inside me.
I guess that is the very nature of the wounds we leave on others after we die, John. (That’s the nature of the ones you left behind on me, at least.)
The gashes grief left in me are deeply irregular; they’re like the wounds surgeons struggle to close. And, even three years later, I can’t seem to find a way to get the lacerated ends to fit back neatly again. And so they get tugged on and pulled as I attempt to move forward.
And yesterday I got to thinking that, maybe, this is also why the hand of God, in all Its wisdom, takes the borders of grief and extends them outward. Just like the doctors that model themselves after Him, He seems to elongate the wounds of grief far past the boundaries of where anyone would believe they should go. And maybe…maybe that’s why grief lasts so long: because the worst injuries, whether they are spiritual or physical, require extension before they can be sutured and healed.
Maybe what seems to be the cruelest facet of grief, its duration, is actually an act of divine mercy. Maybe the pain we feel long after people die is a necessary elongation so that our wounds may be mended properly.
I guess that’s why we feel the sting of someone’s death until we die ourselves?
And maybe the end of life is finally when the broken edges that continued to tug and pull and grow taut will finally be closed over with a final stitch.
That might be what death is: the final tug as God removes the threads that bound what always hurt, but never healed.
Maybe that’s how it works? I’m not quite sure, honestly.
I guess all I am sure of is that I will die wounded. All of us will.
And all I can do is pray that when my eyes close for the last time, that I will find you John. That I will find you at the end of the wounds you left behind.