“How long will I have this big scar?”
These were the tear-infused words that tumbled out of Audra’s mouth in the minutes after her surgery to remove a benign tumor.
Larger than expected, and certainly swollen and raw in these first moments of recovery, my little girl wanted someone to say that her scar would go away.
The words choked in my throat. I couldn’t shape the syllables. No sound would escape my lips.
Scars never go away.
They shrink and fade as they heal, to be sure. With the modern techniques and materials available today they can be close to invisible. But they are still there.
I know this in my own body. I was born with a club foot. I don’t know how many surgeries I had starting just a few months after I entered the world, but I know the final one took place during fourth grade. So many surgeries that the muscle mass of my right calf is less than my left. The range of movement of my right heel is not much, but enough. Lest you think me ungrateful, I’m glad I can walk.
Taking the afternoon away from camp to catch a movie, one of my band mates noticed my leg (hard to miss the shining whiteness) and asked what happened. It took me a second to realize that he was referring to my scar. I told him the Cliff Notes version and we moved on.
But I couldn’t help but think about the scars I carry. Those visible to the eye and the ones not so easily discerned.
I’ve learned to live with them.
But like any scar, from time to time they make themselves known.