“How many times already had I encountered the painful lesson that although we may wish for the barb to be pulled from our flesh, it leaves a welt that doesn’t heal?” ― Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha
There are some wounds that time doesn’t heal. There are memories and flashbacks that do not fade as the days turn into weeks, months, and years. There are some experiences and the emotions connected to them that not even a myriad of words eloquently woven into the colorful fabric of my life story can ever do justice to the suffering inflicted upon me. There are one too many scars rubbed raw from the remembrance of you, and I am exhausted at the cycle of upheaval, suffering, and healing you have left in your wake. You are gone. You should be like mist rolling away across the distant hills and valleys, just out of focus and shrinking. Swirling and dancing in the wind as you dissipate. You should be forgotten, but you are still the blade that dashed across my flesh, deliberately piercing and twisting open old wounds with the tip of your phantom dagger, your hateful cruelty, and your lack of heart.
You have claimed yet one more piece of my life even as I tried to wrestle it from you and fit it back into to that hole you made – no, ripped – in my heart. These things are not yours to take. These things are mine. These memories are mine. The broken relationships and lost trust and lack of security are mine to fix, to chase after reconciliation and repair. They are my family’s. They are my friends’. They are not yours to claim, but you keep on tearing them from me just the same.
When my aunt’s boyfriend passed, you “graciously allowed” me to attend his services, but you pulled me to the outside edge of the room, away from my family. Away from my aunt. You held me there in place with chains so strong I could not move, yet I was the only one who could see them there, draped over on the floor and trailing over to you like I was your captive and your property. Like I wasn’t human. Like I didn’t deserve to be there. You pulled me outside in front of the funeral home, and you argued with me. You threatened me and pushed me to leave. You asked – demanded – that I leave these people, that I ignore their hurt and turn a blind eye to their loss and pushed and goaded and bullied me to leave. This was the last time I was allowed to be around family.
Since then, I have lost friends to accidents and illness, family members have passed, and connections I once had before you manipulated your callous, destructive hands into my life were ripped away from me and shredded at me feet. Like salt and barbs in an open wound, you ground them into my heart and laid me to waste. You denied me the right of saying goodbye. You forbid me in helping care for those who could recover. You are the one who created that chasm, and now you have widened it again.
I left you on December 14, 2012 with nothing. I had no money, nowhere to live, no car, but worse I had no one. The connections were gone. Everyone was now a stranger to me. And although I have spent every day since that winter morning trying to bridge that separation and somehow fill it in and make it like it once was, you have claimed another piece of me. I know you would sit here with a sneer contorting your face in all your self-righteous indignation to hear this news. I know you wouldn’t care. I know you would criticize and mock that you managed to catch me unaware and take yet one more person away from me.
Thirteen days ago, the family made the decision to take my uncle off life support. Thirteen days ago, the doctor told his sisters and his father that there was nothing they could do. Twelve days ago, he was medicated enough that he was seeing and talking to people who were not there. Ten days ago, my father made the choice to not go see him, and ten days ago over my lunch hour, my uncle passed away. Ten days ago, my father wished he could take it back. In the middle of me trying to fix the mess you made for me. You have taken him away. You have severed the connection and erased the progress I had made.
You are a heartless thief. You are selfish and greedy and cold, cruel, and merciless.
Rub the barbs in, Kevin. Keep rubbing them in.
You have no excuse. You know better. You know you are wrong.
Jehovah has seen what you have done.
Jehovah knows what’s in your heart. Or more precisely, he knows what’s lacking where your heart should be.
Jehovah will deal with you. He knows what you are.
And these barbs you keep forcing into my flesh, into my heart, He will remove.
But unlike you, I will not laugh at your condition. I will not mock and deride. Even though I could.
This is the last barb you have. The next one I’m giving back to you.