Mental & Emotional Health
Finding Beauty in the Broken Pieces
“Fall apart into a million pieces”.
These are just a few of the many commonplace metaphors that we all use when life-altering circumstances touch us – and curiously, all of them involve breakage. But what happens to these broken pieces that comprise our lives? How do we begin to recover if everything is indeed broken? Can anything that has been broken ever truly be fixed?
It seems impossible.
Moreover, when you are in that broken place, it feels impossible.
But is it?
Some of the most beautiful art in the world is in mosaic form – which begins its life in small pieces.
Is it possible to view our lives in the same way?
How do we not only “pick up the broken pieces”, but find beauty and possibility in those pieces as well?
There was once a time when I felt so broken, I could not see any future from where I was; sitting on a couch in a darkened living room, surrounded by the complete physical, financial and emotional wreckage that was once a wonderful life. It was December 22, 2000 and I had just buried my late husband after his over two-year battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) had come to an end. To say that I was “broken” would be an understatement.
So much ruin.
So many pieces.
Where does one even begin to pick up the pieces?
As I slowly began my healing journey, I took baby steps. I listened to my heart and instincts and tuned out negative influences (of which there were plenty). I celebrated victories, no matter how small or insignificant those victories may have seemed to anyone else. I took control over a situation where I’d had virtually no control up to that point, as is generally the case when dealing with catastrophic illness and subsequent death. I committed to getting healthy in every way possible and helping my then eleven year old daughter do the same. I designed a healing journey that, while not without mistakes and hiccups, nonetheless propelled both of us forward to a place of peace.
Though I did not realize it at the time, our broken pieces began to come together; forming the mosaic of a new life
Five years after Mike passed away, I found myself thinking about how little there was in the way of education, guidance and support for the bereaved. I grabbed a pen and began making notes on a legal pad and when I’d finished, I had written what eventually became the Table of Contents of my first book. One year after scribbling notes onto that pad, I founded one of the first online bereavement support organizations of its kind. Three years later, my first book was published and two more have since followed. Better still, I continue teaching those who have been touched by life-challenging situations how to create mosaics out of their broken pieces and design their own pathways to healing.
There indeed was beauty in those horribly broken pieces of December 22, 2000. I just had to find the beauty – and then do something with it.