Phantom Pain

I have no idea how or in what order to put down these thoughts, I just know that they are flooding my brain and I need to get them out.

There is this phenomenon that I once read about called “phantom pain”. It is a type of pain that people who have had an amputation of a leg, arm, finger, etc are suffering from. It is called “phantom” because they feel the pain coming from that part of the body which is no longer connected to them. It is a pain that I never thought I would be able to understand.

Over the past year or so, I have come to realize that though we are physical beings made up of clusters of cell and DNA and nerve endings and all of those things that can be seen and touched; there is this part of us that only WE can feel. The part of us that makes who we are that has nothing to do with our skin, hair, eyes, or internal organs. It is a part of us that makes up who we are but we had no part of creating. It is the part of us that only God completely knows. It is made up of what he created before we were born and then additions are made to it by the lives we live and the decisions we make and the people we meet. Some call it our “spirit” or “soul” and quite frankly I do not think that those terms are sufficient to describe this. Those words seem too small to decscribe that part of us which is not physical but I will use them until I can find one that I believe will better fit

I later, watched a documentary on phantom pain…I found this topic fascinating. What I remember was there was no real pattern to it. The pain ranged from severe and constant to a dull ache that was not constant but presented itself years after the loss of the limb.

I have come up with this theory that this unseen part of us has appendages, just like that which is seen. Those appendages are created by the connections we make with the people in our life. We even take them for granted, just like we assume we will always have legs and will be able to walk, we don’t think about the loss of this “appendage” and the pain we will have with that loss.

I lost a very dear friend a few days ago and the next day I went to work, which was a mistake but I did not know that. What I remember most about my time at work was my friend Julie asking me what I was feeling. It was the most difficult time I have ever had trying to label a feeling. I came up with “sorrow” and “regret” but just like an amputee I was feeling a pain in a part of me that can not be seen. I wanted to say that my “heart” was hurting but physically that was not true.

My friend Tim, used to call me his appendage. It was a joke, but now I realize how appropriate that label was. We had a great friendship and a connection that I cherished and I miss him SOOO very much. This loss of my friend, this grief, I can not describe it but I would say the best description is “spiritual phantom pain” and I know that in time it will be less severe – but the wound right now is pretty fresh and it really hurts.

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