Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We do not recover

We do not recover from the death of a loved one.

In fact, we never recover from that death in the same way we recover from an illness or broken limb. It will always be a part of us—always—and to suggest otherwise is unrealistically and harshly to imply that we somehow "get over" the feelings about the event or stop experiencing painful reminiscences of the loved one or the death.

A much more accurate metaphor is represented in the old Carole King song "Tapestry."

My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold.

In fact our lives are "tapestries," and the death of a loved one is a ripping, gaping, bleeding hole in the very midst of that tapestry of our life. How, then, is the tapestry rewoven? It does not, with the mere passage of time, magically pull itself back together. Rather, it is rewoven only with the initiative, energy, and strength of the survivor reaching in and grasping the torn ends of threads, painfully pulling them back and tying them together. And it is rewoven only with those persons around the survivor cutting threads from their own tapestries and bringing them to the survivor, with love and support and caring and tears and strength, helping to further tie the threads and fill in the gaping hole.

So, eventually, the tapestry is rewoven. But that "glitch" is always there, the roughness of that reweaving is, and always will be, apparent. In fact it may be twenty years from now, as the survivor reviews the tapestry of his or her life, or is in a particular setting, or hears a song on the radio, or remembers a special day of the month, that the rewoven seam is seen and felt again, and the survivor remembers and cries, or feels sad, or is touched by the love and caring expressed by those whose threads are apparent there—and that is perfectly normal. We do not recover from a death, but when we allow others to help, we can reweave our tapestry.
— Charles Meyer, in Surviving Death

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