Monday, March 7, 2011

How long does it take to heal?

OK, I know, long layoff. Several pieces factor into that equation. Besides, sometimes you just need a break, right? I’d like to say I’ll jump in to the jovial frivolities right away but perhaps later. Just wanted to try to stretch out on a few different, more serious angles.

And to get to the point of the title, how long does it take a person to heal? Well it depends on healing from what. Physical injury? Scrape? Broken bone? There is a physiological process that happens with cell regeneration, nature of the injury, cleanliness of the wound and other things. But this can be roughly determined. I don’t have an answer – your physician or specialist would be better equipped to do that. But there is a generally defined timeline.

But what if it’s an emotional trauma? Say, the loss of a loved one, as family member? In which case I am looking for answers to that very question and all I have found is “it depends.” As much as I’d really like to have a timeline of when the hurting stops I don’t think thee really is one. It differs from day to day and sometimes hour to hour.

As you may well know, we are approaching three years since we’ve lost our son, Lcpl. James Kimple. And while the hurt has eased some, it is still there. Yes, I still will tear up talking about him. Hell, I’m having a hard time not crying as I type this in a hospital cafeteria (I am fighting a loosing battle here). However my wonderful bride usually has a bit of an easier time talking about James lately. So if you see us together and ask us about James, usually she will answer. I don’t know why that is. It just is. “So it goes” as Kurt Vonnegut would say. This is not to tell you to not ask me about James. I do want to talk about him – this forum is certainly an example of that – just if you ask me in person you might need to give me a few moments.

At three years you’d think it’d be easier for me to talk or just think about James. I certainly would have thought as much. So at what point will it be less difficult? Hard to say. I am sure there will be a day when it gets easier. Maybe by talking about him more I can “work through it.” Maybe the idea of “working through it” is a bunch of crap. All I can say is that I believe it’s different for different people. Different facets of this process will be harder or easier depending on the makeup and thought processes of a person.

What I do know is that I have a fantastic bride and two wonderful sons to help. I have a good family that helps however they can. There are three awesome grandchildren that carry on James’ DNA. And I do have some pretty cool friends. Whether I am talking to them about James or something totally different I think it all helps.

But a definite end? In a strange way I hope it never ends. I feel that the sadness I feel is in direct relation to the amount of joy he brought to my life. I I would never trade that for anything.


  1. Beautifully written, heartfelt and honest. You are refreshing to read and a joy to have as a friend. Talking to you is always a pleasure. Keep on doing your things, JD, and I'll be here for it all!

  2. Your loss is impossible for the uninitiated to comprehend. Therefore you don't need to excuse yourself or ask for patience.
    You are living with the James-shaped hole that no one and nothing else can ever fill. It is incomprehensible enough to imagine a parent outliving a child; but to lose your son so suddenly and without warning must be even harder.
    Give yourself all the time you need, and surround yourself with good people who are patient, understanding and accepting.
    Here's a hug your way.

  3. Grief knows no time table. Humans believe there are all kinds of shoulds about healing from loss. It's pretty much all bull.

    As long as you're still breathing, you're doing just fine. Sending my thoughts to you and yours. Wishing you peace.