Nearly two years after my son's death, i wrote a poem on loss. Many thought I should share it as much as possible. I wrote most of this approximately seven months ago and finished it a couple of days ago. I expected/hoped this would apply (more or less) to just about everyone as we all have had some loss in our lives - be it the death of a loved one; the death of a relationship, death of a dream, or etc. From the comments I received both in writing and verbally, I thought I would share it to a wider audience. So here it is for all that care to read it, share it, or just ignore it.
Just under the skin
Just under the skin, below the scar, is a tender spot that never quite heals.
The scar is as deceiving as the wound. Many think by now it would be healed. And the scar, it appears healed. The skin is toughened up. The nerves maybe are not quite as sensitive as they used to be. But that is on top. Not just under the skin.
I should say that differently – many think by now it should have healed. If they really thought about it, they might be able to figure out the truth. But maybe without going through it all, one cannot understand what lies just under the skin.
Others that never received such a wound; well, they just don’t understand. How can they? They want to compare your wound to something from their own lives. Of course, they are not trying to be mean. Quite the opposite. They are trying to connect with you. Trying to say, as you suffer through this pain, you are not alone. So maybe you smile on the surface. But not just under the skin.
The others don’t realize how woefully inadequate their comparison is. Well, some have an idea it may be a different. But they prattle on as they try to make that connection. Trying to be there to suffer with you. Infuriating. This can be completely infuriating. Do you show that? I don’t often. But it is there. Just under the skin.
Sometimes I smile back. Sometimes I just stare. Sometimes I just avoid. One friend who thought he understood did understand one thing. You don’t suffer fools gladly. There is no longer time for that. Really, there is no more energy for that. It is all used up trying to keep yourself together. To keep on with everything else but sometimes you can’t keep it hidden. No longer just under the skin.
Times may be difficult and some friends may stay and others go. That is fine. As you recall, you don’t suffer fools gladly. But to help yourself and to be there to help others, you need to let people in. You cannot just have skin-deep friends – surface friends. The friendship must go deeper; must have some depth to the relationship. It may start slowly. It may even be just under the skin.
And then one day, and you may not know quite when or how, the depth of love and friendship grows. No words need to be expressed. Just a look or a hug is all it takes. Just being there makes everything better. And it may not matter if you see the friend once a week or once a year, the deep friendships endure. They are definitely no longer just under the skin.
That tender spot is still there. Not only do you expect it will never quiet heal but you accept it never will. Some days the twinge of pain will be just the slightest. Other times will be as new. But you know as friendships and love endures, that tender spot is okay. Just under the skin.