A few weeks ago, I pinched my thumb in a way that created a blood blister. Now, I expected the blood to be absorbed back into the rest of the body over time, but it was not. For some reason, the blood congealed, forming a clot just a bit beneath the skin. Every time I bumped my thumb, that clot would send throbbing pain through my whole hand. I finally realized that the clot was not going to resolve itself. I had to remove it. I dug into the skin to get beneath the clot in order to remove it. That digging process was painful, and from time to time I had to stop. I knew though that the clot had to come out. It was blocking the healing of my injured thumb. Finally, I got under the edge of the clot and pulled it out. More pain. I immediately covered the wound with a band-aid, more as a cushion than anything. After a couple of days, I removed the bandage. There was fresh pink skin where the clot had once been. Now, this new skin had been protected from bumps, more bruises and any unpleasant encounters. It was still very tender and soft, easily reinjured. I would have to be careful. That place on my thumb is still new. It is still tender. It is still overly sensitive to touch.
I realized that grief can be like that clot in my thumb. It has to come out, because it is an obstacle to my healing. Yet, digging into grief and getting under it can be very painful. Sometimes, we have to take a break before we can go at it again. Then, the piece that was blocking our healing comes out, often with tears, and we find new skin. There has been healing taking place under that clot of grief, but it is still tender. The healing is still new, and we should treat it gently. We should treat ourselves gently even as we begin to heal.
Sometimes, like new skin, we who grieve are overly sensitive, easily reinjured, easily wounded. Give yourself space to be wounded. Give your grieving friend space to be overly sensitive. New skin is a sign of healing. The corrupted, wounded place has been removed. A tender, sensitive heart is a sign of healing. We have dug through another layer of grief. We are healing. You are healing even when it hurts. Blessings on your journey!