Does it ever heal?

When I was sixteen my father suddenly died. He was 42.

The other week I was in my hometown for a bussiness trip when I drove past the cemetery where he was buried. It’s been serveral years since the last time I visited his gravesite and, on an impulse, I pulled in. The last time I visited the cemetery must have been before I graduated college. A lot has changed since then.

I think about him often; always the happy memories, funny things he’d say, or weird food combinations he’d eat (fudge on saltine crackers), but never the sad times when he died. Standing there brought back so many memories; things I hadn’t thought of in a long while. I was overwhelmed with saddness and pain. For the first time in years, I was grieving that he wasn’t here with us now.

It occurred to me that my boys will never know their grandfather. They’ll never meet him or talk with him. They’ll only know the man through stories I tell and memories I share of him. What bitter saddness to think I’ll never see dad hold my boys, make them laugh, or spend time with them.

I said a few words out loud to dad while I stood there. I felt silly doing it, but it felt good to tell dad I missed him and I wish he were could be with us now.

As I drove away I wondered if we ever really heal from losing a close friend or family member? I was reminded of what my Dad’s grandmother said about death.

When we lose someone it’s like a cut on your heart. Slowly the cut begins to heal; first with a scab. A bump or nudge reopens the cut causing it to bleed again. Over time those reopenings become fewer and further between and you hurt less and less. One day you’ll turn around to notice the cut has healed with a scar that is unaffected by nudges and bumps. You don’t hurt anymore but the scar is a reminder and you never forget how it got there.

Miss you dad. Every day I wish you were here. I wish we could hang out and be the friends like we talked about. I thank God for the years we had and the things you taught me. Your were a great dad and you’d be a great grandfather.