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Wounds That Don’t Heal

Some wounds don’t heal. Not really. They may scab over, they may scar, but inevitably they resurface. Some wounds just don’t heal.

Among them is deep loss.

Not so long ago, I was reminded of the depth of loss that I suffered when the world lost one of its most precious souls.

A week at the end of June 2021, I represented a client in a general court-martial who knows a former client of mine that the world lost to suicide in February 2020. My current client spoke of him during a recess on the trial, and we recounted to each other our memories of him. The warmth of those memories rekindles joy and reopens wounds simultaneously. I could not stop the tears flowing out of me.

My client who passed away shared plans with his mother to drop by my office someday. He would bring his wife; he would bring his kids. He would show me the life he built, the family he created, and the joy that I allowed him to – based on the opportunity that I gave him after he was acquitted of the unspeakable (false) accusations against him.

I see all of these memes circulating about grief and about loss as somehow being eased because it means that we loved deeply. We would far prefer the love.

His mother comforted my sobs of unyielding grief the week we lost him. Deep shame and guilt welled up in me to parallel my unwavering loss. His mother was comforting me! She had just lost her son, and yet she was thanking me for getting him through the toughest ordeal of his life. How could that be? In the end, in his end, I was not there to save him. I have struggled these last eighteen months during the moments I have allowed my thoughts to drift to him. I could not save him. I was never given the chance.

Through a personal piece in a psychodrama workshop, I was given a small gift from the share of a beloved friend: my client did not call me in his end because he knew that I would be someone who could convince him to stay in his earthly pain.

I have to learn to forgive myself this loss, this seemingly unyielding pain. I need to move through it. I need to feel it, and somehow carry on past it. How many metaphors do we hear about grief and loss? Frankly none of them bring comfort.

Some wounds just don’t heal. Maybe they aren’t supposed to.

My life is forever changed by having known this young man, by being chosen to champion his cause, and by being blessed to find the path to tell his story. I am deeply saddened that his story ended the way that it did. And I will yearn for the day when I might look up from my desk and see him, with his beloved wife and children, eager to show me what might have been.

 

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