A friend gripes about the fight she had with her sister.
My son’s friends chatter about camping with their cousins.
Another friend turns down a lunch invitation because she already made plans with her sister.
Each one of them is like a mallet strike to the heart, a reminder that my own intact family has been shattered.
No more sister to fight with, call for advice, or make music with.
No aunt for my children to sing with, laugh with, and climb mountains with.
No cousins for my children to camp with, grow up with, and share blood with.
When your sister is snatched up to heaven the instant her car collides with another, every heartbeat counts.
In the space of a heartbeat, a heartbeat stops.
In the space of a heartbeat, you forget how to breathe.
In the space of a heartbeat, your own heart shatters.
Slowly, the heartbeat resumes, but the cadence is never quite the same.
Even God can’t fully heal that wound this side of heaven.
But my wound is a reminder that others are walking around with wounds, too.
The woman yelling at her kids in the supermarket has a wound.
The driver who cut me off has a wound.
The grouchy lady at the library has a wound.
We’re all the walking wounded. Yes, our broken hearts reform, but they’re never quite the same, are they?
A wink observed between spouses can be a mallet strike to the heart.
A baby announcement can poke the wound.
A hug between sisters can leave you weeping in the bathroom.
We’re all the walking wounded, and we never quite know when that wound is going to experience scar tissue pain, and we can’t control how we react to the sudden twinge. Sometimes, we react in anger, or it simmers under the surface as anxiety. Other times we choose to hide from those we love so the wound won’t be poked anymore.
At any rate, we’re all the walking wounded. We can choose to nurse our wounds and protect our hearts, or we can choose to continue to open up to pain and to love.
As for me, I will continue to love my friends with sisters, even when their sisterly arguments and love is like a mallet strike to the heart. I will seek out friends for my kids so that even if they don’t have cousins for life, they’ll have family friends for life.
And I’ll continue to trust that on the other side of heaven, this wound will heal, the scar tissue will dissolve, and I’ll get to hug my sister one more time.
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