This post was written by Dr. Cheryl Woodson, a gifted physician and gifted writer. It’s about living with the scar on your heart from losing someone that you loved.
Losses leave scars. Whether it’s a lost job, a failed relationship, an illness or other circumstance that makes us see ourselves differently, or the passing of a loved one, pieces of our hearts tear, bleed, and scar. These scars are grief.
In the immediate face of grief, the pain seems overwhelming, all-encompassing, and recovery seems impossible. Insensitive people with good intentions say “Get over it” or “ You have to move on” and we resist because it seems like forgetting, or even abandoning what we loved. The truth is, we don’t have to do it like that. The way to move past the grief is to accept that we can’t. We can choose to create joy around the scars. Even each scar will never go away; it will never heal; it will never shrink and the space the person and those memories occupy will not change, as we continue to live, give and receive love, our hearts grow larger. In a bigger heart, the unchanging scar commands a relatively smaller space. We don’t have to fear new memories, relationships, and experiences because they cannot make us forget. They can’t threaten the memories or the space a scar occupies. We will feel twinges and may choose to visit that scar from time to time: on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or when something reminds us of shared moments. Joy comes in the fact that we can visit the scar yet choose to live in the rest of that big old heart as it continues to love and grow.