” Our scars remind us that the past is real.” ~ Jacoby Shaddix
The death of a loved one leaves a wound in your life. With the work of grief and healing grace of time, a griever will develop a new normal in life. The reminders are the emotional scars of the loss and what once was. Others are not able to see the physical progress of healing and the diminishing of what was once prominent wounds.
As I’ve discussed before, grief warps the perception of time and it can be difficult to comprehend the passage of days, weeks and months. After a while, life begins to form it’s own rhythm without the presence of your loved one.
With grief, unlike an actual physical wound, the wound is not seen. We develop invisible scars. Others have no idea of the pain that has been present. After awhile, it can even be easy for the griever to forget.
There are days it can seem as if the loss never occurred. Then suddenly, the invisible, emotional scar is aggravated. You are reminded of the depth of your loss. It did occur. Your loved one was here.
One would look at me and not see the scars that have been created over the past two years of my life.
There is no scar to show the world that my family as I once knew it, no longer exists. I am a daughter without a mother or father and a granddaughter without a grandmother. Outwardly, I have nothing to show about the journey I have been on.
I’ve known from the beginning of my grief journey that I must move forward and create a new normal and a new life. However, there are days I simply want my old life back. I miss what I once had.
Next month marks the second anniversary of my Mom’s death and what would be the last few months of my Nanny’s life. There are days that it seems much longer that two years. In reverse, there are days that it seems only a short amount of time. I can easily remember those days and weeks before her death.
You may be wondering about the photograph at the beginning of this post.
A few months ago, James pulled a cast iron skillet out of the the oven and placed it on our cutting board.
The heat left an imprint of the skillet. In essence: a scar.
This was the cutting board I took photographs on. It was a great size and I loved it!
But we haven’t replaced the board.
Nanny bought the cutting board for us years ago. James was the first to hesitate when I discussed getting a new one. “But Nanny gave us this.”
Despite needing to purchase a new one, it doesn’t feel right to discard it. Removing it from our lives is one more step of removing traces that she was here and that she loved us.
Thus, for right now, the cutting board remains on our counter with a round scar of skillet.
Metaphorically, it is an outward physical scar of what has been lost.
I am reminded that everyday I encounter individuals who have their own invisible scars of grief. It is not something that we publicly discuss and there is nothing to show to the world in regards to the pain that has been and is felt.
Most days, I move about my new life with no major issues. Yet, there are still moments when I am stopped in my tracks. It is difficult for me to comprehend the true upheaval that has occurred in my life over the past two years.
I often question how I have done some of the things I have done. With the exception of my marriage and close friends, I have had to rebuild every aspect of my life. A new career, new traditions, and a new and different support system.
One would look at me and not see the emotional wounds, some of which are still in the process of healing.
As I look at the scarred cutting board, I am reminded that I still have reason to feel sad. As I approach significant days of birthdays and dates of decreasing health, I am reminded only I know of these scars. Others do not know or remember that a specific day is difficult – unless I share it.
The knowledge I have is that scars may never go away but they do fade.
Many desire to have no scars and to erase evidence of what occurred. I am going to choose gratitude in regards to my own scars.
Scars remind you that the past is real.
These events happened. I have survived. I am still surviving. My intentions are to thrive.
Do you acknowledge your own scars?