When my Dad had his first leg amputated he described to me something that was called phantom pain. While it was referred to as pain, in his experience it was more like an itch. I remember him telling me of the frustration of feeling his foot itch and, of course, not being able to do anything about it since there was no longer a foot to scratch.
I have begun to think about the experience of being separated from one’s family of origin as a sort of phantom pain as well. Is it possible to miss something that you have never had? Is it possible to long for something or someone whom you have never met?
I have a fulfilling life and a wonderful family; I am blessed beyond what I could have dreamed for. Yet, there is still this pain, this longing, for something that I can’t explain. The truth is that it is easy to bruise my fragile sense of well being, and I spent much of my life waiting for the other shoe to drop in a sense.
I hurry throughout my day and try to keep busy because in that stillness is an ache, a sense of loss and rejection, in a place that I have not yet been able to reach. For now, I am calling it phantom pain.