Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Scars

There is an odd truth about scars. Oftentimes, those scars that remain visible on the body are those from which we can heal. It's those scars you can't see that you remember, and feel, forever. Over my lifetime, I have had major surgery more than two dozen times. I've been cut from breast to pelvis nine times. There is no way to hide those scars. But they fade with time, and become part of your body. It's those emotional scars that cut too deep in the soul to ever forget.

February is my least favorite month of the year, as it is the month I lost my beloved son, Gabriel. I lost him the last day of the month, which is obviously heartbreaking. Every other day of the month reminds me of that last month of pregnancy, those precious last days I was able to enjoy my child in my belly.  There are fairy tales that can't come close to describing the magical power of maternal love. I was into my sixth month, and every fiber of my being had become entwined with all that made up my baby boy. It was delicious, magnificent, eternal love.

As I do on many nights, I spend my last waking minutes holding the last ultrasound picture I have of Gabriel. The other night, I did so and felt moved to put my other hand on my belly. As I felt my abdomen, tracing my scars with my fingers, I realized that there weren't any scars there when Gabriel was within. My belly had a few scars from a few laparoscopic procedures, but otherwise it was a perfect porcelain dome to shelter him.

My physical health has decorated my body with all kinds of graffiti.  Those are scars. Losing Gabriel was the worst pain I've ever felt, but HE is not a scar. He is my child. The internal scars were made the day the ultrasound showed that he had no heartbeat. The scars were made when my brother Keith heard the news, brought me a rose and then retired to a chair where I watched him sob. And even more scars were made that night, as my mom laid in bed with me, trying to console me, and my dad crawled into the bed with us, crying his eyes out.

The worst scars were made the next day when I had to have surgery so they could deliver the baby. The doctor said it would be best that way, for me, but I look back and wish that I could have had the chance to hold him, if only for a moment. Right before surgery, I remember being inconsolably hysterical as I begged my mom not to let them take my child. She was already crying, and my pleas got so desperate that she put her hands over her ears, because it broke her heart to hear me in such pain. As a mother, not being able to do anything to make it better was too much to bear.

No matter how much it hurts to be without him, I would rather have had him than never to have had him at all.  Sometimes we have to sacrifice experiencing great emotional scars in exchange for lifelong gifts. And that's what Gabriel is; my greatest lifelong gift. I am so blessed this angel came into my life, even though his exit almost killed me.

My heart still aches when I see a mother holding her child.  I'm taking baby steps towards healing the wounds to my heart. I'm not a mother in the traditional sense, but he is always cradled against my chest, and our hearts beat in synchronicity.