8 June 2010


I am looking at my right leg, my hand stroking upwards from ankle to knee in search of stubble. My index finger lingers on a scar just below my knee.

I am in Mark Smith's garden with his sister Janice and Joanne and Wendy. We are all running through the long grass, jumping over bike parts, crates and Janice's old pram. The chain link fence that separates his garden from next door hangs loose, twisting away from its posts.

Pop! Snap! Mark fires his cap gun. I am near enough to smell the gunpowder. I love that smell and sniff the air, little sniffs in.

"You're dead," Mark said. 

I sink to my knees intending to die dramatically. My right knee lands on a sawn off fence post, slicing a triangle of flesh.

Game over.

I limp home to show my mum. I feel a bit sick, but it's worth it for the drama. Mum looks concerned, mentions stitches. I've never had stitches.

I sit on the sofa, raising my leg. Mum brings hot water mixed with Dettol, wads of cotton wool, the plasters and a towel. She deftly bathes my wound, washing away the blood and rust. She gently pulls back the cut flap of skin to reveal a triangle of white. I was expecting my insides to be red, the white was a shock. I feel faint.

Mum carefully puts me back together. 

"They need to cut their grass", she says.

I work out that this scar has been with me for over thirty years. Even after all this time, whenever I notice it I am transported back to Mark Smith's garden.

What about the scars you can't see? What about the emotional scars?

Apparently time heals all wounds.

I don't agree. Yes, grief changes over time, the outpourings are less frequent. But once you have lost someone close to you, that loss is always there. That pain is not healed by the passing of years. It is just beneath the surface, waiting for a trigger to release it all over again.

I expect I won't be able to watch the film Gladiator again without mourning a friend who passed away earlier this year. I will see him, not Maximus, walking through the fields and I will weep as I am weeping now.

I only have to hear one of the songs that we had played at my brother's or my father's funerals to feel utterly bereft.

I still pick up football tat in shops and wonder whether I should buy it for my brother. This week I picked up a pack of Panini World Cup Stickers. Then I remember that Peter died in 1997.


Six weeks before Princess Diana.

So time passes.

This post was written as part of the Sleep is for the Weak Writing Workshop. This week I chose prompt no.5: Time.



  1. Beautiful words Sandy. I'm the same with scars, I can remember where they all come from so well (but am hopeless about remembering anything else, such as my date of birth for example).

    Your writing about your brother and your father is always so striking in its honesty and its emotion. I am so sorry you lost them both. Sending you hugs xxx

  2. What a lovely written post, having lost several dear people to me includding my mum and both of my nans I know how you feel. I can't listen to the song played at my mums funeral for fear that if i do it will trigger something off and I've had to box that emotion off in my brain for fear if I let my guard now I may never be able to recover. great post x

  3. Gosh I can not even imagaine the pain of losing people that close to you. (((Sandy))) Mich x

  4. You are a such a talented writer. I love the description of the scar - the triangle and seeing the white. So vivid. That's just what wounds like that are like. I love the way you connect time heals all wounds to the scar and the memory. And the Panini stickers. Beautifully, beautifully written and all so true about grief xx

  5. I'm so sorry for your loss Sandy.

    That was an incredibly beautiful piece of writing.

  6. This is a beautiful piece of writing Sandy, and so true. This part especially resonated with me: "once you have lost someone close to you, that loss is always there. That pain is not healed by the passing of years. It is just beneath the surface, waiting for a trigger to release it all over again."

    Thanks for posting this.

  7. Your writing moved me to tears, as it often does. Thank you for sharing a little bit again

  8. I love the way you have written this, Sandy. Really love it.

  9. Oh my goodness. So beautifully writen, I had tears pricking my eyes at the end.

    Grief is such a awful thing, it never truly leaves you, just ebbs in the background, waiting.

    I lost my grandad three years ago. The pain is still somewhat raw, but it simmers below the surface. Recently it broke through when my husband and I were talking about sheds and the remembered the exciting smell of warm metal, oil and petrol that used to surround mu grandad's shed.

    I am new to Writers Workshop, but I am enjoying it so much so far.

  10. Fantastic post. I lost my dad and I feel you don't get over it but time does move on. Fantastic. x

  11. Beautifully written and so sad - I love how you have included such tiny details (the panini stickers, the description of the dettol) to bring it to life, and so much closer to home.

  12. Your loved ones will always live in your heart Sandy. I always remember seeing your writing workshop posts and I've joined the writing workshop myself this week. It's a great idea - I've really enjoyed contributing.

    gaelikaa xxx

  13. This is a beautiful post. The part about Gladiator and walking through the fields and still looking at presents that your brother might like...so sad.

  14. That's beautiful. I love the way you used the story about your scar to talk about memories and grieving.

  15. Sandy this is beautiful. Your writing just glows with feeling and with meaning sometimes, this is one of those posts.

    I'm so sorry you carry these losses around with you. You are right, it doesn't go away.

    Made my heart ache, this x

  16. What a beautiful powerful post! And you have had so many losses. I feel for you.

  17. Baking Mad Mama, thank you. Perhaps a tattoo would help re the date of birth ;-) x

    Rock n roll mummy, I'm so sorry to hear about your mum and your nans. I think I still keep a lot of my grief bottled up. I totally understand, you worry that once you start crying you may never stop. x

    Mich, thank you for the hugs x

    Deer Baby, thank you so much x

    Gappy, thank you :-) x

  18. Bronagh, thank you for the lovely comment x

    The Mad House, I'm no good at writing funny stuff ;-) x

    Nickie, thank you so much x

    Ella, thank you x

    If I could escape, thank you x

  19. Seethreepeeo, I'm so sorry to hear about your Grandad. Anything can trigger those heart-felt memories. I love the Writing Workshop and I hope you do too. Brilliant name by the way! x

    Susan, I'm sorry about your Dad. Yes, time moves on - that's about it x

    Mwa, thank you x

    Julie, thank you so much. x

    Gaelikaa, I'm really looking forward to reading your post x

  20. Nappy Valley Housewife, thank you very much. x

    Victoria, thank you. If I'd had time I would have expanded on that theme, but I'm glad it came across anyway x

    Josie, thank you. The Writing Workshop has enabled me to write, simple as that x

    Sandrine, thank you x

  21. Sandy, this is so beautifully written. You see there is a reason that I'm in awe of you!
    You just transport me to the place you are describing and can express your emotions so well. I love it and particularly your Writing Workshop posts. I look forward to them each week.

  22. This made me cry, it is very raw. But I totally agree with you, Gran dying has been sad in its own right but has brought back all of the memories from Nan dying five years ago. It is hard so hard, but time moves, and you have to carry on. Doesn't mean it gets easier though. You are a fantastic writer. xx

  23. Absolutely heart breaking.
    I know what you mean about that part of Gladiator, it always makes me cry, it's so beautifully filmed and makes me think of my Dad.
    You are right that the pain of loss never truly goes away, we just learn to live with it, we have to.

  24. You have been through a lot of pain. I hope joy is the theme for the rest of your life.

  25. Mummy Limited, thank you so much, you're making me blush! I don't know what it is about the Writing Workshop that inspires me so much. I think it's that I give myself permission to really think about what I'm writing and how I'm expressing myself. x

    Kerry, thank you, you're very kind. I hope you've got lots of support at this difficult time x

    Livi, it's good to let some of that grief out now and again as we learn to cope with loss x

    Susie, what a sweet thing to say. I hope so too x


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