Tonight I’d like to talk about scars. Some seen, most unseen. I know everyone in this room has them. I want to tell you a little about mine.
Of course I have the usual scars one accumulates during childhood–a small scar on my upper right eyelid from the gash I probably deserved after falling off the bed and onto the medal bed frame at 2 yrs. old. I was monkeying around of course.
Or the scar on my knee I earned in college while midnight rollerblading the streets of Provo and hitting an unforeseen patch of gravel.
I have the small and unseen scars of past unrequited loves and deep disappointments, loneliness, and hurt.
But nothing compares to the scars I live with now. The scars that only those of us who have lost a loved one can understand. Sometimes we’re the only ones who can ever see them or recognize them in others.
Before I tell you too much about how I got my deepest scars, I want to share a quote with you from a book I recently finished called, Little Bee. Little Bee is a Nigerian girl who witnessed and survived horrific tragedy in her country, as well as enduring 2 years inside a British Immigration Detention Center. She implores the reader, “"I ask you right here to please agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret."
The soul-searing pain and opening of my psychological wounds began on a beautiful Sunday in May of 2008. After primping for church and finally making it out the door with my soon-to-be 2 yr. old daughter, Lucy, we sat restlessly in our pew for as long as we could manage before needing to take her energetic bundle out to the foyer for distraction and consoling.
When we realized she wasn’t going to settle down and got her strapped in her car seat to leave, I handed her a small Tupperware of thinly sliced apples. That’s when she began to choke. That’s when I called for my husband and he administered the Heimlich maneuver. That’s when my eyes locked with hers for the last time. That’s when friends and medical professionals poured out of the church building to assist us and eventually the life-flight helicopter landed and whisked her body away.
That’s when I knew I would never be the same. The irreversible wounds would become scars I’d carry the rest of my life.
But the deepest cut came when I held my daughter in my arms and the organ recovery team wheeled us down the hallway to the yellow line where I gave my daughter’s body away. I knew that scar would be the most beautiful.
I heard later, after Lucy’s grandmothers reverently dressed her for the burial, of the long and precise scars on her body where her perfect little organs were removed to save the lives of other scarred and scared souls.
Not only do her recipients share her organs–they share her scars.
For every grieving face I see here tonight, there is another living face out there in the world–sharing the scars of your loved ones.
In 7 short weeks I am due to give birth to a little girl on my Lucy’s birthday. Bringing her into the world will be painful and no doubt, leave some scarring. But the beauty that comes with this new life will be worth the pain. A healing balm.
I knew everyone here tonight has scars. Deep wounds that are still very tender and raw…still bleeding even. Others perhaps have “tightened" and hardened over the years–but they are there.
I want you to remember our earlier agreement we made with Little Bee about our scars being beautiful. Sometimes people have to look away because they see too much beauty and we can’t blame them.
So be proud of your scars. And the MORE-THAN-HONORABLE scars left on the bodies of those we love and buried.
THERE WILL BE HEALING. You will experience your own healing balms in your life that will help soothe the sting.
Have faith that your scars will become more elastic and you will be able to bend and stretch and live your life with greater range of motion–embracing the scars you share with your departed and knowing you hold a beauty, wisdom, perspective, gift, and knowledge–that the scar-less will never know.
By Molly Bice-Jackson
Written in 2012. Molly continues to inspire others as a keynote speaker sharing her insights on grief, life, and connection.