The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


Mike Simms and I were talking. He was driving a new (to him) truck with Florida plates. Drove it for a while.

I asked if he was moving to Florida.

Nope. Truck used to belong to his brother. Their dad gave Mike the truck when his brother died.

Mike said it matter-of-factly. Just a fact. Tossed out there to give context.


How could he do that, I asked myself periodically over the next few years. His brother died and now it's just a conversational bullet point. No emotional investment. How?

I've marveled at other people who could do this.

Now, I know. Mom is gone now, over a month. Her ashes still sit beside my bed waiting for a trip to St. Augustine to be scattered.

Now I can tell people, she's gone. The Kung Flu and Kung Flu-driven pneumonia, compounded by the injuries in the wreck, killed her.  I can say it now without inflection or emotion.

Yeah, it still hurts. Yeah, I still cry when I think about it. Yeah, it's gonna hurt for the rest of my life, I'm sure.

Time scars the wound over. The violent slash through my being is closed over slowly. As the healing moves through, it leaves behind that scar, similar to the other scars I wear. Sometimes when the weather is particularly rough, some of those spots will ache. Most of the time, they don't. Many have faded and are barely visible now.

That part of me that was torn asunder so violently, it never will completely return to what it once was.

It will be stronger. When something living is broken and heals, the broken place is stronger than the original.

But it is not the same. Scar tissue is dense and tough. It covers a wound with extra protection.

The damage is still there, just somewhat hidden.

Some people see scars as something beautiful. Some see scars as marks of shame, something to be hidden, Others, like me, see scars as evidence of a life lived.

This scar is certainly the mark of a life. It is a reminder that she lived and I live.

As the years go by, my Mom scar will quietly fade as well. But it will always be there. When conditions are right, the old wound will make itself known. The pain will come roaring back.

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