It always amazes how far the pieces scatter when I’m picking up the broken dishes that met the fate of falling on our ceramic floor. Many times I’ve thought that I’ve picked up the last piece only to find several chunks down the hallway halfway to another room.
The first time a dish broke on the floor, it was a dish that had been given to me by my paternal Grandmother. I never really liked the looks of it but even so, my heart shattered into as many pieces when my daughter accidentally dropped it on the ground. The only thing that kept me from falling apart was the fact that two very sad little girls were crying at the time too.
I kept my composure as I picked up the many pieces but inside I wanted to sit on the floor and fall to pieces too. I wanted to fall apart because this dish was my connection to my Grandma and though I had already said good bye to her in her death, I wasn’t ready to let go of that little piece of her that I still had with me.
Today some more memories of mine went shattering to the floor.
I’ve moved around a lot in my life and because I’m naturally a bit of a hoarder I took with me wherever I went small tokens that had an important memory attached. There were some items that were found while spending time with friends. There were quite a few stones and shells that I had picked up while visiting oceans and beaches.
I kept them in a jar that has traveled with me wherever I moved. Its contents have changed over the years, but it has always contained those little things that remind me of the bigger moments in my life.
Today I had gotten that jar out. I was looking for some stones to place in the bottom of the herb garden I was planning on planting. I was desperate for something to put into the bottom of the pot so that the roots wouldn’t sit in water. I thought to myself, what better use could I have for those tokens than to just sit in the jar. They could be at work helping something new to grow.
The girls were intrigued by my jar of different things. As I sorted through the pile that lay on the counter, I chose those items that were no longer attached to a specific memory. What lay left on the counter were those things that meant a lot. I asked the girls to fill the jar back up as they were finished looking at the things that intrigued them.
They were almost to the end of their browsing when the glass jar was placed too close to the edge of the counter. In the blink of an eye, the jar and all the precious memories it held went flying to the floor, shattering as it smashed on the ceramic tile floor.
Again, I wanted to cry. Those things that held some connection to my past, were lying in dust on the floor with a million shards of glass. It was hard to separate the glass from my collection.
Despite my sadness, I remained calm for my sensitive little girl whose heart was also shattering. I don’t always stay so calm but today we were able to talk about how mistakes happen to everyone. I admitted to being disappointed but despite that, we were able to sweep up the pieces without anyone cutting their bare feet on the broken glass.
As I swept those pieces onto the dustpan, I found that I couldn’t dump my collection into the garbage as I first thought I had to. Those tokens were connected to something deep inside of me. Those things represented many of my relationships and experiences, all of which have made me who I am today and if I lost them, it felt as if I was going to lose a part of me.
So as I write this, all of those pieces lay on a paper plate; awaiting my decision about their fate. Perhaps they will find themselves along with the broken glass being held by a new container nestling today’s precious memory alongside the ones from the past.