Sunday, September 26, 2010


We all have scars. Some of us have very visible scars from accidents and others of us have internal scars from wounds incurred by life experiences. Colbby had a scar on his tongue that he got when he fell down when he was not yet two. I remember there was blood everywhere, but the ER doc I talked to assured me that tongues do bleed a lot and that it probably would be fine. And it was.

Another external scar Colby had was on his thumb. He was opening a can of dog food when he was about eight and ended up with a ton of stitches. The worst part of that incident was that it was right at the beginning of baseball season and he missed most of the games that year.

But, like a lot of us, Colby had many internal scars: the counselors who did not adequately diagnose him, the doctors who turned their professional backs, the teachers who not only didn't believe in him but actively and intentionally were unhelpful. And then there is me. I know I caused some of Colby's scars, just as all parents unintentionally disappoint their children from time to time.

Colby's internal scars were big and heavy and ugly and he couldn't carry them without help. Even though many of his friends and I tried, the devastating reality is that we could not get Colby the help he needed.

Like Colby, I too have scars. In addition to the usual accumulation of life scars, my biggest scar is that of a grieving parent. One surviving son of a parent in one of my support groups likened this kind of grief, this kind of scar, to a broken leg that didn't heal right. End result: you learn to live with the limp. That analogy is so accurate because I feel as if I am now limping through life. I will still end up at the same place at the end, but it will be a slower, more painful and difficult journey than it would be if Colby were still here.

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