She fell apart. A fragile mosaic that was held together by a prayer, lost when the storm came through. A prayer taken away and smashed to the ground…and she followed. From above she looked down upon her brokenness and saw the many pieces of her life, spilled across the path. She saw that there had been dreams and hopes and even happiness. There was laughter and there was love. But at some point the tesserae, once bright and beautiful, started to become cloudy and she didn’t know how to stop it from continuing. She looked around but nobody seemed to notice that she had collapsed. They were still looking at the shiny bright remnants of her structure and didn’t see the fading pieces. She was different and she knew…had always known. Made up of the most fragile and delicate of stone, she was like the layers of mica that, if not held onto carefully, would float away with the breeze. She knew that she lacked the sturdy resilience of the diamond and now she could only look down upon her brokenness and wonder why nobody else could see it with her.
Without warning it descends, and the darkness holds your heart.
There’s no point to understanding because
the reality towers over all of your attempts.
It’s not a cut. It’s not an ache.
It’s a bruising deep inside that won’t leave you.
Sending searing pain through your heart, it settles into its home.
Innermost feelings, thoughts, and fears are laid bare…
exposed to the world that you try so hard to hide them from.
Pick them up…hold them…try to fit them back into a place nobody will see.
Caress the fears and pray they go away.
It can’t exist in the light…but it does.
Turn away and shelter your eyes.
Tomorrow may take it all away…and you will rest –
weary but surviving, until another day returns
to release the darkness that’s inside.
An empty shoe. That’s what I held Saturday. After a year and a half I finally cleared out the last of my Mom’s belongings. Except the jewelry box. My sister is going to take care of that for me. It’s just too hard. She has graciously offered to see to it that our siblings get the items our Mom wanted them to have.
But the empty shoe. For me there is no louder voice of a death than an empty shoe. I look at it and I hold it and I hear it saying to me that it held a life. It carried my Mom around daily and took care of her. She’s the only one that this shoe ever held. It represents life and activity and a sense of purpose. Those things are gone now and it’s emptiness screams at me. I’ve tried many times to pull her things from the closet to sort through and give away but every time I opened the door I saw her empty shoe. And I closed the door again.
It’s almost haunting. It sits there… a reminder that the life is no longer. So I put it away for another day so that I don’t have to think about it.
I had set aside a couple of her things to keep…a couple of embroidered handkerchiefs, a t-shirt she wore under her pajamas to keep warm when she started getting sicker…a pair of silly socks. I love silly socks and I bought her some at Christmas time to wear. But, as I finished going through her things, I put them in with the other items I was donating. I think that instead of being healthy reminders like her paintings are, they will be sad. It’s heart-wrenching for me to hold them and I miss her so very much. I’m torn as to whether I should keep them. Today I want them back. Maybe they remind me of her humanity and her reality. The jewelry really means nothing to me. There’s a necklace I’ll keep that I bought her for Christmas the first year I had a job as a kid. She’s kept it all of these years. But, there is nothing else I want. I just wish I had that one last day with her that people talk about. I just wish I could feel her around me sometimes. I never do. I did with my Dad…maybe I just haven’t been able to let Mom back in yet. Maybe it still hurts too much. I think about all of the memories and I know she must be here somewhere… When Dad died I remember one night being so broken and crying and feeling that if I could just run fast enough and far enough maybe I could catch up to him… That’s how I feel now…I want to reach out and just be able to touch her again. It seems like I should be able to… But as I look at her empty shoe I know that she’s not here. I don’t know…a life can’t just evaporate into nothingness. I wish that I didn’t have to go on without her here. I miss her. I miss her more than I ever thought I could. I know she’s in a better place…I guess she’s moved on in her journey. She missed my Dad…she missed her sister and her brother…her parents…I just wasn’t ready for her to go.