Post Title: Finding God in the Easy Places, Part 4

Removing my Stitches

In the ER, they told me to have my stiches removed between five to seven days, so I made an appointment with my regular doctor right away. They could fit me in on Day six.

Run of the mill stuff, they said. Getting stiches out didn’t hurt at all, my cousin’s wife—a nurse—assured me.

Not So with Me

The physician’s assistant seemed surprised the ER gave me this early timeline. “It’s usually seven to ten days, but we shall see,” he muttered. “if it bleeds, we’ll stop.”

I gulped.

He turned a bright light on my stitches, examined them and got to work.


In response, he placed a warm paper towel on them “to loosen their stiffness.”

As he worked, I tried to keep steady although I longed to pull away.

“One down, three to go!”

All that time and just one done? “Is it bleeding? “

No, it’s properly healed.

 “Are you sure?” It feels like it is. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts!

An Extra Set of Eyes

The physician’s assistant didn’t bother to answer. Instead, he left the room and came back with a visiting doctor. “Another set of eyes is always helpful,” he explained to both the doctor and to me.

The doctor leaned in. “Yes, I see what you mean. They’re tiny.” He produced a slender tool. “We’re going to have to dig them out, young lady, so be patient.”

Dig them out!

As he painstakingly worked, I tried to shift my focus, but it was hard to distract myself. Each time I winced, he stopped then patiently began again.

“Done.” The doc looked pleased with himself. “You should have minimum scarring, if  any.”


Amy’s head injury healing progression pictures – far left, injury at first, second to left, just a bandaid on Amy’s head, third image just after stitch removal, last image, all healed no bandaid needed

Minimal Visual Scarring

It felt terrible. Worse than before. And even if no one else could see it, I knew it was there. That side of my forehead got the brunt of all my accidents. So it would be scarring on top of scarring. It would always be with me.

At home I took two aspirins and buried myself in bed feeling eternally wounded.

A few days later, my cousin’s wife stopped by. “Let me see it,” she ordered. “Look at me.”

“Can you put a band-aid on for me?” The blurriness I lived with made it difficult to center it.  I didn’t want to put the sticky part of the band-aid over where the stitches had been. When I took it off, it would probably tear my skin.

She inspected it.  “Oh yeah, lookin’ good. Why do you want to put a band-aid on it?”

“So, I don’t see it.”

“You can’t see it very well anyway with being legally blind and all,” she said. “Let the air get to it so it can finish healing. Do not put anything on it. Nurse Nancy’s orders.”

She had a point. I felt it tentatively. Now it seemed more like the foothills of Fuji than the peak.

“Leave it alone. If you keep touching It, it might get infected. Go about your everyday life and before long, it will be healed.”

At work, one of the coordinators asked me how my head was.

“Great. I already got my stiches out.” Physically it looked good.

Now it’s just a matter of time until I get past it. If only I could stop focusing on it.

The Parallels Come

Over the next few days, I started to see parallels between my head wound and the deep wound I felt from my brother’s passing.

On the night of the collision, I was moving swiftly like a cannonball in mid-motion through the store. Naturally, when I hit the rack, it wasn’t my typical “bump and bruise” accident. The blunt impact catapulted me off my feet. The unexpected blood … the confusion … the ambulance run … the trip to the ER seemed surreal.

Likewise, the phone call that came from the nursing home came out of nowhere …  my brother was dying In. That. Very. Moment. The shock catapulted me off my feet. Initial confusion. Followed by a panicked run to the neighbors for a ride … Adrenalin. Racing to Mike’s room. To his safe place. Disbelief.

They say a head wound bleeds copiously. Likewise, my grief gushed out. I had never experienced either to the degree I did that night.

Just as my two colleagues walked me to the Customer Service area, the next day my two nieces walked me back to the nursing home to pick up some of Mike’s stuff. I felt weak and disoriented. One held me and the other rubbed my back comfortingly as I tried to get my mind around what had happened.

Instead of a single ambulance ride, the hearse came, and we rode in a funeral parade.

The drama of both events drained me. Each gave me a wound to cope with.

Sleep Evades Me

I recalled how I couldn’t sleep after he passed away. How in my shock, first I blamed the nursing home for not notifying me sooner so I could hold his hand and say goodbye properly. Then God for not letting me bring him home. Then myself for everything I had done wrong. Not only during his illness but over the years.

It was my fault he was alone when he passed away. I should have given him a choice by telling him about Hospice. But my brother and I made the best choice we could at the time. He needed hope.

My ‘restless night’ lasted months. I struggled a LOT with this deep wound. It consumed me. I couldn’t focus on anything else.

I faced the wall, both the physical and my emotional wall night and day.

The Sutures Come

A close friend from North Carolina called me frequently, reassuring me I would be okay. I remember saying she didn’t understand. She didn’t have enough experience. I jumped off the examining table of our friendship. Ever so Briefly. Before I returned. I needed her. The numbing process HURT as she patiently refocused my thoughts from my me-centered grief to God-centered scripture. I tried to be brave. I wanted peace. But it hurt.

Why did this keep happening?  First, I lost my dad. Then my sister. Next my mom. And now my brother. The pain throbbed and ached. But I couldn’t take anything for it. I couldn’t shut my brain off.

What was my purpose in life now. I had no idea! I had been responsible to and for others for SO long. Being alone confused me. Depressed me. Terrified me.

At one point when I shared my feelings in my grief class, one of the participants said, “Well you still have that knucklehead of a brother!” He was speaking of my younger brother, and the way he said it made me smile. Even laugh. But the reality was my younger brother and I didn’t communicate much. He had his life and I had mine.

The Healing Begins

Slowly I carved out a different kind of normal. My brother-in-law and his new wife took me on my errands one day a week. They said Thursday was ‘Amy Day,’ which also made me smile. Nothing would ever be the same as running errands in the easy comradery I had with my brother. But …still … God was providing. Our errands always began with a home-made lunch. It awoke the hunger pangs in me.

When I was stronger, I started to go back to church with them too. My friend from North Carolina urged me to find a church I was comfortable with. “They’ll support you,” she said.  That took me a step closer to healing.

Little by little God leaked peace into my life. It all happened in increments. S-l-o-w-l-y. Encouragement and scripture came from many different sources like deli-food, home-made and delicious.

Family and friends said I was doing well. The wound looked like it was healing nicely.

July Arrives

Then the anniversary of when Mike and my life changed loomed ahead. July 29th. Six months to the day from when Mike passed away. I started to go to bed earlier—though I didn’t manage to sleep much—as soon as I finished work, and I slept in until I had to go. What worsened my frame of mind was that by chance I had watched some of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody and then I discovered the lyrics to the title song and that was it. They consumed me, especially these lines.

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality
So you think you can love me and leave me to die?

That was like the change that came over our life. And I loved my brother and left him to die. This song stirred up my feelings of helplessness, giving me such a negative mindset about myself and my brother’s situation. Then the Irish singer abruptly passed away. I learned how sad her life story was Her song, “Nothing Compares to U” competed for traction in my brain. That, too, brought my grief to the forefront.

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. Worse than before. I’m not okay anymore.

Digging my Grief Stitches Out

  • I listened to a steady stream of sermons on InTouch Radio.
  • These talks reminded me of how God wanted an intimate relationship with us. Every detail of our lives concerned Him. He allows us to experience hardship to mold us into His son’s image.
  • A physician’s assistant suggested a mild anti-depressant, 25 mg, the lowest dose available. I took it to get back to a regular sleeping schedule. After a short period of adjustment, I slept mostly at night.
  • Praise music replaced my trigger songs.
  • A former neighbor who lived in another city visited me.
  • I began to see a grief counselor.
  • Our Mile Long garage sale served as impetus for some of Mike’s clothes (a big step for me).
  • My favorite aunt came up during the sale which cheered me.
  • Family came together to honor her but their presence encouraged me as much.

Coming Full Circle

At this point, God chose to reveal how He had brought good out of my collision at work.

In the same way your head wound healed,

 I’ve been healing your grief wound.  

That required a trip to the bathroom mirror, which had good lighting. I peered into it, nearly pressing my face against the glass. It looked great! So much better than I ever imagined and in such a short time! I still had a minimal raised lump there. I predicted it would never go away. That would always be part of me. I was forever changed.


“What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light.”Matthew 10:27.


Close Examination

When I examined my grief wound, I found it to be amazingly better as well! It felt clean. The stitches had done their job, holding me together.  I could now function. I recalled how my cousin had told me to leave my head wound alone and go about my everyday life and soon it would be healed. Likewise, when I started to have interest in life again, my outlook changed. When I focused on God and others, not my circumstances, my Heavenly Faither could dig out each painstaking stich.

I imagined him standing back, pulling off his luminous gloves and smiling over at me. “You’ll be okay now. Trust me.”

As I jumped off the examining table (my bed), He switched off the bright light and I kept smiling and smiling at Him.

He seemed to give me permission to anticipate the good things in life again.

Although I know I needed to go through the grieving process for all those months earlier to build my character and trust God more, it seemed miraculous that the biggest change had come about in one single month. August.

I really felt okay again. Not the tentative. You-seem-to-be-coping-better of earlier times leading up to July 29th.That peace was so fragile. Now I realized that not only did the Master have the most experience in sewing up deep, jagged gashes, He also excelled at taking them out with minimal scarring. The scar tissue He left behind served to remind His patients they had survived the ordeal. No, they wouldn’t be the same. But they could use that scar tissue to reach out to others struggling with similar losses.

The scripture that came to mind was, “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light.” (Matthew 10:27).

Healing is an Ongoing Process

Just this week, I ran into a pole in my backyard and caused my head wound to open and bleed again. But not copiously and it stopped shortly after it began. It hurt, but I didn’t need a doctor or more stiches. I understood in the same way, I would run into painful moments with my grief wound. Maybe tears would come. But the pain would nr manageable in short order.

My Gratitude

After God shared how He had created such an important parallel from a collision at work, I felt my faith deepen. He had indeed brought something good from it.

I saw the similarities between all the people He placed in my life the night of the accident and all the people Hew placed in my life during my caregiving days and after my brother’s passing. All these people gave me support just when I needed it.  The trail is wide with

God divinely placed even strangers in my path to encourage me. Once at work, a customer from Mike’s class came through my line. She gave me her condolences but then shared an anecdote about Mike that touched my heart and nearly made me cry. I loved that she told me about a day he was brimming over with excitement. That’s how I want to remember him. Those incredible moments of contagious excitement. I’m not there yet.

My Walk

I am often slow and clumsy or fast and careless in both my sight and grief journey—taking both hesitant or overconfident steps. But God has proven once again He will steer me one step at a time, then the next. So, I don’t have to preoccupy myself with where to place my foot when the paths diverge. He will instruct me and teach me the way I should go. He will guide me with his eye upon me.  (Psalm 32:8).

I can’t give up. God always directs me to my resilience. It’s reassuring to experience such grace first-hand. When my own eyes fail me, His never will. Whether I’m climbing Mt Fuji or wearing it, I can know with certainty, He is with me.


Think of a time when God turned something bad into something good for you. Or when God shared a parallel. Share it in the comments below.


You have just read “Finding God in the Easy Places, Part 4” by Amy L. Bovaird. © September 12, 2023. All rights reserved.