Thursday, May 21, 2009

Scars from April 23rd

I would like to start this entry with an apology of sorts. Obviously, I am not with the Lopez’s every minute of every day and will miss some of the most touching moments that occur during Ava’s recovery, for that I apologize. Also, the writing works best for me if I just pick an emotion that I am having and go with it. This is what tonight’s entry is, and this is why I am apologizing. I wish that I could tell you that “She walked today!” but that hasn’t happened yet and I don’t have any further news of her recovery other than “SHE SPEAKS!” which should be enough to sustain us for awhile yet. You may even want to fire me after tonight’s entry because it may appear a bit melancholy. If you aren’t in the mood for it then you may want to wait for another entry.

Well, let’s get on with it.

A simple thing stood-out to me when we were visiting with Ava and Traci the other night, and my mind just wouldn’t let it go for some reason.

Last night I spoke of Traci getting out of the rocking chair so that Jennifer and Lilliana could hold Ava. Traci stood to the right of the head of Ava’s crib, while we stood and talked about a variety of things. Traci was wearing a form-fitting gray cotton pull-over shirt with half sleeves that came to the elbow. While we spoke, she would occasionally cross her arms and adjust the sleeve ever so slightly so that it would expose her elbows. Standing directly across from her it is nearly impossible not to notice her elbows… they are scraped and scarred from being thrown across her yard and into the fence or even concrete. They are a bright pink, like the color of red grapefruit. The linear streaks across her elbows are pitted on the right and remind me of the blood that dripped from it on the evening of the 23rd of April. There is a small divot that remains in the center of the skin on her right elbow that was a hole the size of a pencil eraser on the night of her injury. The “abrasion” was bad enough to bleed, but not so bad as to require cosmetic or functional repair. On the evening of the 23rd of April, this is one of the injuries that your eyes would have been drawn to, given the persistent slow bleed while she lay on the ER gurney. Maybe this is one of the reasons why my mind would not let it go the other night… I am reminded of it. But this is why I am talking about it.

The scars on her elbows are a reminder to Traci, and to those who know, of the way things are and the ways things could have been. The scars are a reminder to us of this healing process. They represent so many things. They represent the injury of the 23rd of April to the Lopez family and so many others. The fresh redness of them reminds us that while healing, the wounds (emotionally and physically) are still fresh and are occasionally tender. The scar represents to us that it is continuing to heal and that it is not yet finished. The scar will continue to remodel and strengthen the tissues that were once injured. The bright redness of it will slowly fade with time. The skin will not be so tender forever. It will soften and smooth as it heals itself. Eventually, she will even forget that they are there for brief moments of time, then longer and longer.

But unfortunately, or fortunately, being a scar… it will never fully go away. From my perspective this is fortunate. May it continue to serve as a reminder to Traci and to all those who glance upon it, of the preciousness and fragility of life. May we see them and give thanks, privately or publicly, that Ava is alive and for the treasures that you have been able to maintain in your own life.

I think of these scars on Traci’s elbows and think how proud she should be to bear them. While the rest of us require an intentional act to put on our Ava gear to show the world our support of her/them, Traci alone bears the physical scars. It is her mark. It is a symbol of strength, devotion, dedication,… and healing. May it be a reminder to all of us, and may she be proud of them.

Ava, the party waits for you.


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