53 days. Though last Monday was horrible, I think it did some unseen work on the wound in my heart. I firmly believe, too, that having the abundant number of meals provided for us have helped me to grieve. I haven't had to worry about meal planning or preparation three times a day. I could focus on my grief in that I didn't have to try to shove it aside or ignore it or deal with it later because I was too busy trying to get a meal on the table. I know, without a doubt, that otherwise I would have done what I wanted to do, which was never get up again. I am much like an animal when wounded. I simply want to go hide in a corner and lick my wounds and snarl at anyone that comes near, even if they're only trying to help. On top of all that, I was clueless about how grief affected the immune system and several of us have been sick off and on since a week after the funeral. The meals have been tremendously helpful in more ways than one.
I have thought a lot about this wound that grief leaves. To me, it is much like a third-degree burn victim. The past seven weeks have been rife with intense, unspeakable, indescribable pain, as when one gets burned. But third-degree burns (called full-thickness burns) may have little or no pain or may feel numb at first because of nerve damage. I wonder if I didn't move to this stage almost immediately after the searing pain. Of course, that was after the initial shock wore off, too.
When pain is so intense, the body's coping mechanism is such that it shuts off. I'm fairly certain mine did. However, as with severe wounds, they must be cleaned and tended to. They must be seen by a physician and round-the-clock care given. Wounds this deep must be watched carefully for infection, dressings changed, and antibiotics given. I believe that every time I have allowed myself to cry, to write, to feel, have been times when the dressings were changed, when healing was fostered. You see, I don't think you can do anything to speed healing. I think you can promote healing by doing those things. But only the Great Physician brings healing, and usually it takes time.
The Lord has been so very gentle with us through our loss. He has changed my dressings, and when infection looked likely, He cleaned it out, though painful a process such it was. I never would have thought I would have survived, yet yesterday turned a corner. There is still a very, very long road ahead. The wound, in no way, is any less deep than it was before, but I think that healing has finally begun. There remains a profound, inexplicable sadness, but I trust that the LORD will do what He says. "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3 NIV) He will be my rock, my fortress, my deliver, my God in whom I trust.