Necrosis: the death of most or all of the cells in an organ or tissue due to
disease, injury, or failure of the blood supply
--The New Oxford American Dictionary
In the second chapter of his book Redemption, Mike Wilkerson recounts the story of a man he calls Peter. Peter married his high school sweetheart and eventually they had a little boy who Peter cherished. 3 days after being taken home from the hospital Peter’s son’s lips turned blue and he died from a rare defect. The death of his son shattered Peter’s world. It led to a divorce with an unfaithful wife, a meth addiction, the loss of his home, and disillusionment with all of his friends and family. Wilkerson states that, “Peter never really faced the loss of his first son” and that seems to be the cause of all the loss and sorrow that ensued.
Peter’s story gripped my mind and my heart after I finished reading it. It stirred something deep within me because I, like Peter, have failed to deal with the existence and extent of loss in my past. Not dealing with loss leaves an open and gaping wound in my soul that became infected and spread necrosis to the rest of my life.
Infection: it’s an metaphor that I’ve used recently to explain what sin is to myself and others. Infection is what I imagine it was the demise of the Black Knight in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail; which happens to be another reflection of myself in media that has come from processing through this issue. Even in his dismemberment the Black Knight refused to acknowledge that he was affected by the loss of his limbs and maintained the illusion of his invincibility.
I feel like I haven’t dealt with the majority of my recent loss nor that of my past. I have chosen, have been told, or was forced to believe that life after loss continues on in the same fashion: that I was unaffected. Through Wilkerson’s book and being in the community that I am in, I’ve been forced to face the necrosis that exists within my own soul: giant swaths of deadness that has been spreading and deepening my entire life.
I don’t know the extent of the damage done to my soul by loss, originally or subsequently. Regardless, the path to recovery will force me to face every loss I’ve refused to acknowledge. Fortunately or unfortunately it’s the only way to heal and become alive.