The Side Road: Scars of the Heart

Heart Pillow

Let me take a break from our adventures to talk about daily life.  As you all know, this is the real adventure.  We all have scars – I have a scar on my knee that I got from tripping and falling when I was hiking a few years ago with friends on Fred’s Mountain in Wyoming.  Me, sharp rocks and walking don’t mix well.  Everytime I see that scar I am reminded of that incredible day on the mountain, such good memories, despite my clumsiness.

My husband had a triple by-pass several years ago. Typically, heart patients are sent home with a pillow to grip to their chests if they need to cough or sneeze. His was bright red and heart shaped with the outline of a perfect heart on it where the Doctor drew the things he moved around or fixed.  It was handy to have when he went in the car with me while he was convalescing. The first few months he took it with him most places. The fear of coughing or sneezing after you had your chest cracked open brought enough fear for him that he always had it with him. After he was cleared to go back to work, which meant travel – he took the pillow along in his suitcase. It was needed security during the first few months of recovery.  Now, several years later, the heart pillow is still on our bed, with the lines the Doctor drew and the date of the surgery now faded from washings.    The pillow is not the only reminder of Sam’s surgery as Sam has a large scar that stretches down his chest. I know another heart patient; my father. His scar is hardly distinguishable as just a thin faint line a decade later. On contrary Sam’s scar turned into a twisted keloid scar. It is large and twisted like an old tree trunk that has been tested and bent in a storm, but came back stronger.

We all have scars, some that can be seen and others that are not visible to the naked eye. The experiences that each of us go through; good or bad, scars us and drives our thoughts and actions.  If we could inventory every scar that has shaped who we are, we would look like a rag doll that was stitched together. For us, it drives us to make every day an adventure.

When I make the bed everyday I place the heart pillow at the center of our bed. It is a reminder of what could have been lost and how quickly life can change.   I think about the scars; the ones we can see, and ones that have faded.  Honestly, I love the scar that runs down Sam’s chest. The scar and the heart pillow remind me every day that we have one more day, one more month, one more year, or if we are lucky, decades with our loved ones. These reminders keep me centered. grounded and thankful for every day.

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