Scar Tissue



I’ve been working on a memoir on my journey through an ocean of grief, and how I eventually found the rising sun on the horizon. Most of the time, I have little difficulty reliving those moments. Some days, depending on what chapter of my life I’m writing about, it makes me moody or a bit melancholy.

Today, grief reminded me that no matter the time frame, I am permanently tied to it. In an instant, when you least expect it, it will blindside you. Like an old rag doll sewn back together with patches, you’re never really whole again.

Six years have come and gone since my mother has passed. It feels like an eternity considering the highs and lows required to get past grief and “move on”. Yet, I see a picture of her and it feels like yesterday. I can smell a certain aroma or hear a piece of music and she is right there with me.

Memories are a friend and comfort to me, not in moments of sadness but everyday. They make me stable, remind me that the bond I yearn for was very real and let me know I’m not alone. If I ache for her closeness, I can close my eyes and a million memories will flood my thoughts.

I have kept journals since I was very young, and I currently rely on them to write my memoir. As I perused one in search of information, I came across a poem my aunt wrote in honor of my mom. Without notice, the floodgates parted and I was in the midst of an outright ugly cry. Tears falling, snot flowing and coughing back the unexpected emotion. The surprise heartache didn’t surface from my missing her, but from being reminded of the all the people who also suffered the void she left behind.

Hallmark cards will tell you that “ time heals all wounds”. While it’s true the gaping, oozing wound closes up, they tend to glaze over what’s left behind. Scar tissue. Time can heal earth-shattering grief, but recovery parallels learning how to exist without your right arm.

Grief is not unlike having surgery. Three months ago, I had an ACL reconstruction. The first two months following the operation, I dealt with immense pain or a foggy numbness from drugs trying to mask my true feelings. While attempting to suture itself back together, my limb went through a period of disuse. Once the surgical site healed, I was left with an incision in it’s place to forever commemorate the procedure. This incision will fade overtime, and serve as a reminder of the painful event I experienced in the past but will never forget. My knee is starting to look and at times feel normal again. However, there is a new sensation of clicking when I walk. The doctor says,“ It’s just scar tissue. It will probably be there forever, something you will just have to get used to.”

Like my knee, my heart and soul healed after being wounded. But the scar tissue formed another type of bond that forever changed me. Physically my knee will never move the same again; mentally I could never view my world or the people in it the same way. Now, years later, I realize I am bound to the way grief altered me. I handle life situations and decisions differently than my friends who haven’t been split open from grief. Yet, when I am around my friends and family who have, I know it’s not just me. I’m a member of a somber society, who learned a lesson in the brevity of life and act accordingly. Everyone eventually joins.

Has anyone out there been blindsided by their grief?

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Susan says:

    Better and better, Cara. I’m grieving the state of the world.

  2. Pat says:

    I feel like I’m missing something internal NOT grieving this way.

    1. Pat,
      Everyone deals with grief in their own way. I know many people who have felt the fire of grief . Some have periodic meltdowns ( like myself) and others don’t have any . I don’t think that means you lack anything . It dosent lessen the intensity of your grief either. If anything it seems like a blessing you don’t have to experience those moments.
      Thanks for reading !!

  3. We share some of the same grief you and I as I miss your mom so much. I often think of her when I remember anything good about my youth. Much of it originated with her and I’m not sure what I did before you and she came along. Could really identify with this. Of late, I find myself grieving my old self as I will never get her back after my injury. I have many moments during a day when I’m reminded that person is long gone. I appreciate your candidness in sharing your grief as it helps the rest of us not feel so damn silly.

  4. Very good, Cara. Grief is part of the fabric of life.

  5. Lois Smith says:

    Cara, You explained your feelings so well here and described exactly how I feel but never could put it into words. August 1st it will be 25 years since my Mom had journeyed into Heaven. Every year I write a Memoriam for the newspaper in New Jersey. As I was writing my Memoriam this year I thought to myself…. What else can I say after 25 years of these Memoriams. I have no new words to express my feelings. After all, it has been 25 years. But, when I read your blog, you put into words exactly how I feel. The wound closes up, but there will always be scar tissue. There will always be wonderful memories as if they occurred yesterday. Yes, life moves forward but the memories that our Moms have created will never leave us and will always bring a smile to our face. And yes…. At times will still open up the flood gates. Give me a glass of wine and I immediately start balling my eyes out just thinking of my Mom. Not that I need wine to do that, but I don’t hold back after having one. I too handle life situations differently because of the death of my parents. I certainly look at things differently.

    I often think of your Mom and what great times we had in NJ. I’m just sorry I missed seeing her and reconnecting with her when I moved to NC. I am so proud of you, as I’m sure she is, of the person you have become.


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