Like many people my body is riddled with scars. Unlike the scars of your soul, physical scars are like road maps of our lives. They tell us stories of chances taken or stupid decisions that ended badly. Many people show their scars with pride, to boast about a conquered feat or show how they braved the toughest of battles. Amid the numerous scars on my body two hold the most significant meaning to me. The long scar that stretches down my chest and the one just below my bikini line. One a symbol of a life saved, the other a symbol of a precious life lost. When I was 6 months old they discovered I had pulmonary stenosis I had a hole between the right and left atria as well as the opening in my valve leading from my right ventricle into my pulmonary artery was to small. Both of these problems would cause significant health issues and most certainly lead to death if untreated. Open heart surgery was the only option. My mother, alone and hundreds of miles from home, from my father and the rest of her children, wrote in her journal about her experience of my surgery. The first time I read it a few years ago I was beyond moved and touched having never known what she went through alone, scared and worried for her baby. I read it now, having gone through something entirely different but some how completely related. Her words lift off the page and touch a very familiar place. I have always respected and loved my mother but the understanding of what she went through as well as the respect and love is now much greater. She writes in a letter back home “The part of me that screams I want to go is because my baby will soon hurt much worse. She’ll lay as if dead with tubes coming out of her throat, nose, chest and I.V.s in her arm. Several needles, four in her with tubes attached….I cry a lot and sometimes want to sob when I think about it.” It is almost eerie reading these words. Years later thinking similar thoughts about my own daughter. Watching her as she fought for her little life. I’m sure my mom never imagined that later on the child she watched suffer would go through such a similar thing herself. I ask myself daily why I was given a second chance at life. Why was I one of the lucky ones? My answer is simply so that I can live for her. That’s why I’m alive right now. Every day I get up, its for her. When I see something beautiful I hope that she can see it through my eyes. Every breath I take is for her. She makes me want to be a better person and to live life to the fullest. She is my little guardian angel and I want to make her proud. After losing my daughter, my mother along with my sister got on a plane and made the long trip across the country to be by my side. As they walked through the door of my hospital room I made eye contact with my mom. 32 1/2 years later she rushes to my beside and holds me and whispers “my baby.”
I love you Mom.