When I was seventeen, I started working at Dunkin Donuts. All in all, it wasn’t a bad gig. I worked with a bunch of cool people and I had an unlimited supply of coffee. And when the canisters that held our coffee ran out, I had to clean out the filter baskets and throw away the used grounds. Often, during busy times, I would be emptying boiling hot grounds into the trash. These boiling hot grounds is where the story begins.
I was closing one night when I went to brew fresh coffee. The grounds had not been emptied from the filter, so I grabbed the handle to the filter basket and pulled it free. Somehow, someway, through what I could only describe as an act of witchcraft, a small clump of boiling hot grounds jumped, yes, jumped from the filter and landed very nicely on the exposed skin above my right wrist. Needless to say, I was graced with a lovely circular hole as a painful reminder of the attack. Over time, my skin did that thing that skin does and healed itself, but I was still left with an imperfection above my wrist. A glossy circular patch of skin.
I’ve never hated any of my scars. My mama used to tell me that scars added character, so I always embraced them. And it wasn’t until the other day, when I was getting out of the shower, that I noticed my little patch of glossy skin above my right wrist was gone. After further inspection, I came to one again discover where that nasty little clump of coffee grounds fell some 8 years ago, but it was very difficult to see. It is now so difficult to see, in fact, that if I were to show anyone it, they may claim that a scar never existed in the first place.
When someone we love dies, the amount of pain and grief that we feel is overwhelming. It may feel like there is a physical hole in us, because that person is missing from our lives. At first, our family, friends and community acknowledge this death, because they can see the hole. They do what they can to comfort and support us. Time passes by and we’re expected to heal. To move on. And then there comes the time when our lives are supposed to go on as normal, as if the death has never even happened.
But our grief tells us otherwise. People may not be able to see the scar anymore, but we know it’s there. In some cases, the pain may feel as fresh as it did upon first impact. In other cases, the pain may just be a memory. Either way, it is important to acknowledge the scars you have and to wear them proud. You have changed and you’re a survivor. You’ve added to your character.