This week, snowdrops are appearing all over the garden. They are one of my favourite flowers. When I was a child, someone brought me a small tub of snowdrops in hospital. I would sit and study them. Usually, I just enjoy any glimpses I catch of them in spring and don't think too deeply, but yesterday was different. Life has taken on a familiar grey hue.
I had been dumped in a hospital in the south of Scotland, for major cardiac surgery. My parents and the other children, were offered a home within driving distance to the hospital but treated it like a grand vacation. I clearly remember that first night, and the realisation that nobody would be staying with me. I was on my own at the grand old age of seven years and eight months. I woke up post operatively in recovery, alone. I was alone when they removed the internal suturing wire, which was excruciating. When they did visit, the other kids were off swimming.
The surgery on the whole, was deemed a success. I was prematurely discharged for Christmas. The staff gave me a Polaroid photo, a gift for the parents of each child. In it, there is a girl. She has no day clothes of her own but has been given a dress to put on from a large cardboard box. You can see her underwear as the dress was too small, but it was all that they had to offer.
I remember this same girl, hoping that she would die as payback, to make them all sorry for being so mean. But she survived and was brought back as a trophy. She hated the attention of being sick, and dreaded people asking how she was, so was mortified when routinely, visitors would be shown her scar. If she protested, her clothes were yanked up as he proudly showed off her 'war wounds' which in turn, generated sympathy for the poor parents and all that they had been through.
It was not just a typical neck to naval scar where they open up the sternum to work on the heart, but is, as one cardiologist put it in 2011, 'a brute of a scar'. No prizes for bedside manner there! My parents were given the choice of experimental surgery, should they want their daughter to wear low cut tops or a bikini. Beginning at the sternum, it winds round the right side and ends up at the middle of the back, pretty much like a thoracotomy incision. I have memories of pleading with my mother not to beat me there. I can still hear her voice mocking me as I told her to watch out for my stitches and her telling me that I wouldn't be getting any preferential treatment from her.
As a young teenager, I determined that I would not become a victim but a survivor. I figured that if I dwelt on the negative, they would win. Yet, words, feelings and even snowdrops, can trigger emotions and memories and I sometimes wonder if it is possible to completely heal.
Today, snowdrops also appeared on my church website and I read these words from Revelation: 'Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.'
I am sure there are other people out there who feel that they are living a dual reality - the one everyone wants to see, as nobody really cares to know, and the ugly past that lies buried deep and wreaks havoc, from time to time.
I am not sure what the answer is, but if there is one, it must surely lie with God. Today I needed to write, to release and have ended up sharing part of my story. Today I also read that God knows the end from the beginning and that all this stuff will fade into obscurity, when we experience His glory.
The best is yet to come!
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I could feel my heart breaking for this poor little girl as I read the story. I wanted to reach out and hold her in my arms and tell her that she is important, that she is loved, and that she is amazing. It amazes me how some parents can be so cruel, I love my children so much I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to just drop them off at the hospital and go on my merry old way. You did a great job of telling a sad story, but an even better job of telling a story of hope. The hope that Jesus and only Jesus can bring into our lives. I pray this is not a true story, but I have a suspicion it probably is, but either way I said a prayer for that little girl and all the little girls and the boys in the world that feel unwanted right now. Thank you for sharing this with me.