Broken Vase

I started a new book, “Mended,” in which the author recommended throwing a piece of pottery on the ground and then glue it back together. It seemed a little counterproductive but she said it made her feel better, so I gave it a try. After your child dies you’ll try almost anything that might help you feel better. My experience, unfortunately, was not the same as hers. It never is. She had a child die as well but no two losses are ever the same. You might share some of the same emotions and you do have a common bond with others who lost a child as well, but you can’t compare or know what the other is feeling or what will help or hurt.

I thought out my plan for breaking and putting back together my little vase. I put it in a ziplock to contain the pieces (which didn’t work) and went outside, ready to feel better after this little project. As I was outside standing there with this case in my hands I suddenly developed a strong attachment to it. I didn’t want to break it. It’s not like it was some important decorative piece, it’s been moved to various places to fill a space when needed, and I don’t even remember where exactly it came from, but when it came time to throw it on the ground all I wanted to do was hold on to it. I questioned why I would break a perfectly good little vase, but after a couple minutes I convinced myself to throw it down.

I watched as the pieces of the vase flew everywhere with tears pouring down my face (ziplock doesn’t make as sturdy of a bag as I anticipated). The majority of them stayed in the same general area but others flew over 5 ft away. It felt as if I was the one thrown on the ground and broken again. As I got down on the ground and began collecting all the pieces it felt as if I was trying to pick up all the pieces of my life. I felt a little frantic since it didn’t appear all the pieces were there. After several minutes I decided to just go back in with what I had and to come back out later if I needed to find more.

I plugged in the hot glue gun and just stared at the pieces, not knowing where to start. I decided to start with the pieces that still resembled pieces of a vase. The bigger pieces. As I was gluing pieces together, I was supposed to pray, but I didn’t know what to say. Instead I listened to a song, the same song over and over again and I let it become my prayer. I’ve listened to it many times before but this time I really paid attention to the lyrics (below) and cried as I put the pieces back together as best I could.

You’re shattered
Like you’ve never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you’re never gonna get back
To the you that used to be
Just let that word wash over you
It’s alright now
Love’s healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
‘Cause your story’s far from over
And your journey’s just begun
Let every heartbreak
And every scar
Be a picture that reminds you
Who has carried you this far
‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could
In this moment heaven’s working
Everything for your good
Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again
(Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey)
As I got to the place on the vase that received the impact of being thrown on the ground I realized there was a piece missing. I went back outside looking for it but still haven’t found it. I find myself scanning the area every time I go outside still. I couldn’t leave a big hole in it though, so I used the pieces I had to patch it. They were the pieces that belonged on the inside of the vase, but that wasn’t going to happen anyway.
As I prayed and cried my way through putting it back together I realized I am the broken vase and there were going to be missing pieces that just couldn’t be put back, as much I was wanted them to. The night I was shattered to pieces (May 21, 2017) I had to leave the hospital with a piece of me missing, lying lifeless on the hospital bed. The vase is no longer as strong as it used to be. I definitely wouldn’t try to put anything in it. I have never been one to cry but since Addalyn left me here tears fall frequently and sometimes it’s hard to stop once I start. It’s like the area of the vase where the pieces that should have been on the inside are now on the outside. It’s a delicate area, even with the tons of glue that was used. The glue that has been putting me back together slowly is my relationship with God. As He continues to put me back together I’m not going to be the same as I was before. Every crack is a part of my journey and every glue-seam is God holding me together and reshaping me. Those seams are also what can allow light to shine through them.
My vase still resembles a vase but it’s lopsided and can’t be used for the same purposes as it could before. It’s purpose now, as it sits on my nightstand, is a painful reminder that God isn’t finished with me yet. The night I was shattered hurt Him too, and even with a big piece of me missing I can still serve a purpose and let Christ shine through me. I still think about that missing piece and will probably continue looking for it each time I go outside, but it won’t consume me. Even though this was a great reminder of who I am, it didn’t make me feel better. I am broken and will continue to be. If you glance at me you might not see it. I’ve gotten better at pasting on a smile when I don’t feel like it. I’m not the same person I once was who could easily shrug off what someone says that hurts. Words mean so much more than they ever have. Time is precious. I don’t just go because I’m invited anymore. I laugh through the heartache because when life sucks sometimes you just have to laugh about it. I sometimes have to put on a serious face to get through something that ultimately makes me want to break down and cry-even though I cry a lot I hold back even more. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I wish I had a life that let me fade into the background and never get noticed. I don’t want to be living a life where others know what my deepest pain is. But, since I’m here, I’ll let God use me to hopefully encourage others going through similar heartache, or even just to let them know what you’re feeling is ok. There is no “normal” when your child dies.

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