Perhaps enduring wounds can be concealed, but it can’t forever be veiled.

The eyes tell you many things which words cannot - even the sadness and hurt some of us wish to keep secret. A face of sadness can often mean a lot of things, but for Maya it was of two daughters who died this year. I do not know of her pain, but knowing of such a tragedy, the heart swells for another person. A familiar pain washes over you. The hours that pass often reveal the hidden. You are surrounded by visual and literal noise, but they fade into the background.

Words seem inadequate to describe that moment, but the eyes, the lines and the shadows of the face made possible with that moment’s light have stories of their own. They dance in the person’s face revealing their own melodies of nostalgia. She was on the verge of tears and I felt bad for stirring memories that obviously pained her. I expressed my regret for this, but she assured me that it was okay. Her pain can be seen through the tears that were about to drop, and I felt my heart swell.

“What are these?” she asked to no one in particular. She was holding on to the photo I gave her and had been studying it closely. I asked if this was the first time someone gave her a picture of herself recently. She said yes. Her face showed a mixture of puzzlement and dismay. I’ve always thought her beautiful, with a lovely smile, but now, I see a woman trying to make sense of her face’s various layers and marks and it seemed she didn’t like what what she was seeing. Her companions touched her face, pointing at the spots, commenting in a dialect I can barely understand.

Maya and I met for the first time that day and I did not want to leave her with anything. Earlier on we shared bread for a snack.  I am honoured to hear the rest of Maya’s story. I feel that despite all the pain, her smiles prove that she is taking it one step at a time towards resolving her grief. 

A Memory...

A memory of a patient I encountered in a Pediatric ICU suddenly came to my mind. To this day I cannot forget the colour of his skin or his hollow eyes. They told us he is going to die. His mother was on her way from the airport. When his mother arrived, they both cried and held each other in that bed. I stood there frozen… hurt and shocked at what I was witnessing. It broke my heart; even more so when the boy passed away just a few minutes after his mother’s arrival. You can’t help but think of the individuals who never made it. I think of how privileged and blessed old people are to live this long, to see the transformations of their selves and the world they live in.

These encounters with complete strangers, when they open up to me, are somewhat a revelation… There are a lot of things we have in common despite our differences… We all have our own scars… Despite these, we persevere.

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