At first, as my sister described it, there was so much blood everywhere that we couldn’t find the wound.
But now, as we’ve stripped away the layers, wiped clean cloths across our hearts and found the center of the vast, jagged hurt; I am trying, aching, pleading with God to help me heal. But every day or two, just when I feel like I’m getting better, something tears the fragile sutures wide open.
How much can a heart take? I try. I look at my beautiful husband and children and I count my blessings every day, but sometimes I’m afraid my heart will simply give out from the pain.
Mourning, I’ve been told, is talking about something ad nauseam– discussing it over and over and over until some sort of clarity begins to form.
Most people– Christian or not– take seriously the injunction to “mourn with those who mourn, comfort those in need of comfort,” but as an insightful commenter on Segullah recently noted, as humans we usually want to skip over the mourning and go right to the comforting. We encourage people to train for a marathon before their shattered bones have a chance to heal. It’s so easy to look at other people’s agony and dismiss it.
I believe it takes a distinct sort of spiritual discernment to truly mourn with those who mourn and I’ve been blessed to have good people wrap their arms around me– Erik, my incomparable sister, my children, incredible friends, my brothers. I asked for the prayers of my ward council last December and one sweet older man broke into sobs– “You can’t bear this alone. No one can shoulder this alone.”
Our story is so unusual, with so many Shakespearean twists, that I know it sounds unbelievable in the telling (and that is part of why I don’t share it here). And so I especially appreciate those who simply love me and pray for me.
And I wonder, about hurts and tragedies that people have shared with me in the past. Have I dismissed them? Have I judged them? Have I walked away from a conversation thinking—“they just need to buck up and deal with it”? I’m sure I have.
As patient as my friends and family have been with me, I know they are weary of my mourning. I discipline myself to keep the subject out of daily conversation, to avoid slipping into self-pity. Of course they are tired of it– I am tired of it!– and I wish I could suffer a bit of selective amnesia or steal a spell from Dumbledore to obliviate the whole wretched mess from my mind.
But easy outs are never healing. We must walk (or stumble or crawl) through the pain of life.
One image stays with me– my mother fighting death on that last long rainy night– shaking her head, gripping my hand, writhing with pain. She would have endured months or years of wrenching agony just to be with us a bit longer. And there’s a sweetness in that— she didn’t want to leave us.
She is with me still– nurturing, protecting, crying for me and urging my heart to keep beating, to go on.