I remember it just like yesterday, I was about 5 years old and I was playing under the table at my mom’s apartment. Being the ever curious child that I was, I decided to play “follow the leader” with her cat. The last thing I remembered was the cat’s tail knocking over a glass vase and crashing onto the floor and my knee coming down on a jagged shard. My mom ran to me and she saw blood gushing out of my knee. She grabbed a bath towel and we rushed to the hospital. The glass lacerated my knee so deeply it soaked a bath towel and required many stitches. As a child, having this wound was a battle. It was mid-summer and I wanted to run and play and I couldn’t because the cut would re-open and potentially become infected. As a result, my grandma and pap bought a little red wagon to pull me in all over the farm. Grandma would be hanging the clothes on the line and I would sit there and watch her in my little red wagon. She would clean and re-bandage my knee daily and nurtured it gently to make sure it would heal properly.
The thing about wounds is that they all can come in all shapes, sizes and from many sources. Some heal quickly and some take time to heal properly. The wounds I’m referring to are physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual wounds that we face in life. Whether it is a divorce, loss of a spouse, family, or friend, a miscarriage, a loss of home due to fire, being raped, returning from war, battling a drug addiction and so much more. These are all serious wounds that need time to heal. Just like when I cut my knee, the glass went into the flesh at first I never felt a thing. I was in shock, but those around me saw something was wrong and they took immediate action when I could not help myself. No one could make the wound disappear, but they were there to help me get better.
I never felt the pain when it first happened; I only started to feel the pain whenever the doctors made me look at it and began putting the stitches in. Isn’t that how it is whenever tragedy strikes us? We may not even feel the pain or want to face it until we have to sit down and accept it and let someone help us begin the healing. Once we get over the shock when it does hit, we then have to do whatever it takes to make sure we can let the wound properly heal. I hated that waiting period of letting my knee heal. I would be sitting in that red wagon unable to move knowing if I did it would make the wound even worse. My life was on pause, but yet the world kept moving all around me as I watched my cousins and friends run around and play. It was at this time I was so thankful to have my family and friends. They took the time to help and take care of me.
During the first weeks, I would cry and scream each time my grandma had to tend to my stitches. She removed the bandage so she could look at the wound and apply the medication to see if it was healing or getting worse. How thankful are we for those people who help us through those times when we face these tragic wounds? We may yell at them, we may blame them or we may take them for granted, but they are the ones making sure the wounds are healing and not becoming infected. Those first few weeks when she would remove that large bandage she would always tell me “you can look away, but I wish you would look to see how it’s getting better.” I was scared to look at the wound the first few weeks. Grandma would sit there beside me on the bed wiping away my tears and talking to me calmly and helping me clean the wound. She always was assuring me it was going to be fine and it just needed a little more time to heal. Flash backs of all the blood and the deep wound kept haunting me, but it wasn’t until I started to listen to my grandma as she kept saying day after day “the wound was healing.” I didn’t believe her until I had to see for myself. One day I was sitting in our kitchen watching my cousins outside playing basketball and I remember crying because I wanted that to be me out there playing. I was mad at myself and mad at them because I just wanted to go play and it wasn’t fair. I was ready to move on from this wound. I was curious to see how my wound was healing since my grandma kept saying it was looking better and better. Since I never looked on my own, I always kept seeing the fresh cut wound for what it was. One evening I remember her taking off the bandage and the smell of the medicine and the feeling of the bandage coming off felt the same as it since day one. However, this time I looked down and I noticed the wound was there but it wasn’t as deep. There was a peace that came over me because I saw my knee healing when I didn’t realize it was. I remember looking at gram and saying “it’s getting better!” and she said, “see, I told you it would be alright.” Each day after that I kept helping her change the bandage to where I was then doing it myself. The day finally came when I had to go back to the doctors to remove the stitches. I was so scared because I kept thinking of them putting in the stitches and how painful it was. I walked in and the doctor was smiling and he asked, “Are you excited?” I didn’t know what he meant at the time because I honestly didn’t have a clue what was going on. I sat there and as he got out the tools I started to cry again. My dad held my hand and assured me it was ok, that they were going to take out the “ugly black things” as I referred them to also. It only took a few minutes and there was no pain, but there was a scar. I came home that evening and I asked grandma if the scar would be there forever and she said calmly that it would always be there but it was now healed. I was able to go and be a kid again.
Over time, I’ve collected a few more scars and a scrape or two, but that wound was the worst and is still the biggest physical scar I have. I sometimes get pains in that knee, but I’ve learned to accept the scar for what it is. I’ve learned a huge lesson from it all and no its not avoid chasing a cat under a table (though I would never suggest you doing that) the lesson I’ve come to realize is that life is going to happen and the longer we live the more wounds we are bound to get. Honestly, if you don’t get wounded in life it’s hard for me to believe that you’re truly living. It’s not how we get the wound, but how we let the wound heal. Gather those around you that want to help you heal, and those you want to help heal. You need people in your life that aren’t afraid to look past your tears, defenses and denials to take the bandage off and clean that festering wound when you can’t.