Right before we got married I asked a man who mentored me in college if he still found his wife beautiful. I didn’t understand his response. He told me that his wife’s body was different from the day they met. It had scars and wounds from the life they had lived together. However, when he laid his head down on the pillow at night and ran his hand over her body, he knew the story behind every scar. He knew by the scars it was his wife and those scars made her beautiful. I get that now.
I didn’t see Andrea’s scars until the second day in the hospital. The night before was what one would expect from a hospital stay. I slept on what someone labeled a “bed.” It was really an uncomfortable couch that morphed into something that looked bed-ish. Earlier in the night, the nurse brought me some sheets. I carefully had laid them out and did my best to work with what they gave me. Throughout the evening I laid there tucked loosely in an array of thinly woven cotton called sheets. I struggled all night long to keep the cloth on my body and even then they barely kept me warm.
Periodically, a nurse would come in and wake Andrea up. She would administer pain pills and sometimes help her to the bathroom. Every time the nurse came in it woke me up. I could hear my bride talking in a soft whisper. I could hear her being helped across the floor. I felt a bit guilty for just laying there but I knew she would be upset if she thought she woke me up, so I pretended to sleep. I won’t lie, for the most part, I slept well considering the circumstances. The Ambien helped.
The night wore on and finally it was time to get up. As I got out of my fake bed I took a moment to look at my bride. She looked comfortable. Her eyes were closed and her breathing looked natural. I walked up to her, looked down, and allowed a lone tear to fall. Wiping it away, I pulled a curtain that could separate our two sections of the room and decided to shower.
It was refreshing. So refreshing, I would end up leaving the brand new bottle of body wash Andrea packed. We wouldn’t realize it was left until a few days later. Your welcome to whoever got to take it home. I hope it brings you body joy and keeps you smelling delightful.
I spent most of the day driving back and forth from home. Andrea spent most of it sleeping. She would wake up from time to time, take some pain medication, and then recede into slumber. She didn’t like sleeping so much but it was healthy for her.
It was late afternoon before our surgeon was able to see us. She entered the room with a couple of residents and took some time to talk to us. She explained again all the ends and outs of the surgery. I was glad she took the time to talk to us. I was fairly sure I didn’t explain everything well to my wife. I was right.
One thing I have always appreciated about our surgeon is her confidence and grace. She has always been confident in her ability to excommunicate Ole Scruffy. She has also handled my wife with great care. I never felt like Andrea was a product to her. She wasn’t just a pair of boobs with a disease. My wife had a name. My wife was a person.
The grace she extended to my bride throughout this process brought me peace. I knew she would always handle my wife gently. This was displayed as she did her examination. I watched as the doctor carefully began to pull away the medical tape. She slowly and tenderly removed the bandages. Then, for the first time, I saw my wife post surgery.
There in front of me was the woman to whom I pledged my life. The women I promised to be with through sickness and health. The woman who I have spent my adult life learning how to love more and more each day. The woman who to this day is the very definition of beauty to me. As I looked at her, all I could think was, “Wow, nothing has changed, that’s still Drea. That’s still my bride.” Her war wounds didn’t strip her of anything. I would gladly take her this way the rest of my life. She is still beautiful. She is still glorious to behold.
On her body, where she used to have breast, were thin lines of stitching. I had prepared myself to see bruised skin and disfigured spots. They simply were no there. The doctors had done such a good job. I was simply amazed at their work. Sure, she has war wounds. She will bear them for the rest of her life, but who cares. They don’t disfigure her. No, they make her beautiful.
Those wounds are our wounds. They will be worn with pride. The lines across her chest are a proclamation that the rascal Scruffy picked a fight he could not win. Scruffy tried will all his might to destroy my wife’s body and strip her of her womanhood. The vile beast did everything he could to take her from me, but he did not win. Instead, he made her something more wonderful to behold.
The truth is, I’ve always been attracted to my wife. One look at her and many people would be perplexed as to why she chose to date me. It’s almost comical that she agreed to marry me. She doesn’t look the same today as she did on our honeymoon. Her body has now been changed forever. However, I agree with my mentor. When I lay my head down on the pillow at night I can feel those scars. It is by those scars I know that’s my bride, and they have made her beautiful.