memoir, The Blog of Missing

Glass shrapnel

*Jake has not yet been found. Thank you for checking in.

People ask me how I am, and I get stuck in a loop where I remember asking Jake the same thing when I knew he was suffering. I feel badly for the person asking me this question because I know the helplessness behind it, and I also feel badly because back then I didn’t know how to help Jake and now he’s somewhere unknown. So  I have truncated my responses. When asked how I am, I answer, “I’m upright.” And thus I avoid the loop.

But truncation leads to isolation. It could be argued that this is self-imposed and all concurrent effects are my own doing. I agree.  But it is infinitely easier to walk alone through the grief than to try to take care of the feelings of everyone around me.  This may or may not be black-and-white thinking. At this point I can’t tell. Heck, I feel badly even posting that I don’t want to take care of people’s feelings because hey, everyone’s only concerned, right?

I could leave it at that and shrug off anyone’s hurt feelings, but I care about those who’re asking me, and I understand the weird spot everyone is in here.

I am the designated driver. Everyone takes their cue from me.

I have puzzled over how to explain what it’s like to walk this path of unknowing, and I finally found a word that encapsulates it: shrapnel. It’s right next to my heart. No explosion put it there, so shrapnel is technically incorrect, but it’s a loaded word that communicates what I feel.

Dr. Christian C. Bannerman writes, in “Wound Foreign Body Removal,” that “[i]dentification of a foreign body can be difficult, depending on the type and location of the wound and the timing and mechanism of injury. Soft tissue foreign bodies most commonly occur secondary to penetrating or abrasive trauma, and they can result in patient discomfort, deformity, delayed wound healing, localized and systemic infection, and further trauma during attempts at removal.”

Delayed wound healing. *sigh*

The fact that Jake’s missing is like a miniscule speck of glass embedded inside me. I had a tiny sliver of glass buried in my foot once. I thought I’d gotten all the wound debris out, so when I felt any pain there I assumed it was just healing. After a week I realized that the spot wasn’t healing, so I went to work on it and eventually coaxed the little piece out and my foot finally healed properly. Lesson: listen to the pain.

This shard cuts deep. I know it’s there and rooting it out is impossible. I listen to that pain and look for small things I can do to make a difference in the day for someone else because focusing outward is the only way I’ve found to legitimately lessen the ache.

I found this song via Bones:
My favorite line:  Storms never come to stay.

 

 

 

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