Does Time Heal All Wounds?

Mama, take this badge off of me
I can’t use it anymore.
It’s gettin’ dark, too dark for me to see
I feel like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door.
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door-Bob Dylan

Nine years ago we buried one of my best friends. His yarzheit was August 25th. For those of you who are concerned, I don’t remember what the Hebrew date is. I just know that it is close to Elul and that this has always affected me.

His death was a life changing experience. He wasn’t the first friend that we lost. There were others that came before and after him. I don’t mean to demean or marginalize the loss of the others. Should their loved ones ever read this I don’t want them to feel badly. But they were different.

Car accidents, a bike accident, a couple of suicides took the others. Cancer took my pal away. It didn’t happen over night. It was a process that took a while. In some ways it seemed like it took forever and in others it felt like forever. Each week there was a gradual deterioration of his abilities. The cancer didn’t discriminate between cognitive or motor skills. It took huge bites out of all until there was nothing left to take. The giving tree was no more.

The first few years after his death were hard, far harder than now. It is not that I do not miss him, but I have grown accustomed to his absence. For a long time that bothered me. I felt like I was betraying his memory. If I didn’t feel that searing sense of loss I’d wonder what was wrong with me. It took a while to realize that I was healing and to accept that it was ok not to miss him every day.

After a while it was normal not to think about him, to not wonder what sort of advice he might have offered, to not feel badly that he would never know the pleasure of being a father etc. Still I made a point of not missing his yarzheit.

Each year I would take a few minutes to think about him and appreciate all that I had learned and gained from our friendship.

This year was different. This year was different because I forgot about his yarzheit. It didn’t even occur to me until today that I had. So I suppose that this is more proof that time heals all wounds. Yet I’d like to clarify that.

I may not feel that searing pain. The sense of loss may not be there, but the scars remain. There are moments when it is tough. There are times when I do very much wish that he was still here. When I get together with the crew there are moments that I look out at 35 or so kids and wish that his were playing with the rest.

There are those moments when the memories pop up. A dinner in Beverly Hills, a hike in the Sierras, flying over Catalina or walking down the street in Jerusalem. They’re bittersweet memories. They’re part of deep spiritual questions and tied into growth.

His loss changed me. It aged me. It made me question and wonder about things that I might not ever have. I don’t want to belabor the point or make this post any longer than it is. All I know is that I wish the old bastard was here to argue with me because I miss my friend.

I miss my friend. How many times have I said that recently and how many more times will I have to say it. Every now and then I am amazed to hear someone say that they have never been to a funeral. I have been to more than twenty.

It is Elul and I feel unsettled.

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Comments

  1. August 25, 1998
    would have been 3 Elul.
    Enjoy the (happy) memories!

  2. Jack's Shack says

    Sarah,

    Life is unsettling. All I know is that for me it always comes back to the same place. I can choose to live and love or just love the memory of what once was.

    A Blonde,

    Thank you. I have made my peace. Every now and then I lose it momentarily, but it always comes back.

    Mark,

    Thanks.

    Stepping,

    Thank you too.

    MGA,

    Amen.

  3. MUST Gum Addict says

    I’ll never forget the first funeral I attended. Even more powerful was that first burial I attended. It was for my most favorite Aunt who succumbed to cancer. That sound of the dirt hitting the coffin as they filled the grave is one that will NEVER leave me. Since then, I have unfortunately been at many funerals and burials, and I have helped some of my best friends bury their parents.

    It makes you realize just how fragile life is. In my opinion, it’s something that everyone must experience at least once in their lives. It establishes a very important perspective in life and in family.

    Thanks for sharing Jack — you’ve brought back some memories of some friends that I’ve lost as well.

    May we only know of good things in the coming year.

  4. Stepping Over the Junk says

    this was touching and sad and sweet, all at the same time. I am sorry for the loss of your friend. I feel the same way about my grandparents when the anniversary of their deaths come about. As well as some friends too. Yes, it is unsettling. Hard to consistantly feel peace about it.

  5. I think some people have never been to a funeral because they choose not to go. I’ve been to more than my fair share too. I think it’s a vital part of grieving. It provides closure.

    Sorry about your loss, Jack.

  6. ablondeblogger says

    Hi, Jack. I headed over here to say thank you for your support regarding my beagle Copper and to say how sorry I am to hear that you, too, lost a friend.

    Now reading this, my heart breaks for you even more. Time does heal, but I don’t think the wounds ever go away completely. Those scars are left on our hearts permanently, but the memories we have are like a salve to soothe them.

    I pray that you find some peace and healing.

  7. I don’t think time can heal things like that. I think as you say, you get used to the absence but the finality of losing someone (a friend, relative, loved one) changes you in a way that is permanent. You can’t ever replace a unique individual, ever.

    Life is unsettling.

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