Crouched down in the waaaaay back of the basement, I started my journey through the dusty bins that I’d once carefully stacked, labeling the contents in a way that would make my OCD father proud. I took a strange and unexpected amount pride in organizing the basement, a hundred light years ago, carefully packing and stacking, and pulling things out to donate to charity.

I always took a lot of pride in the things I did to make my home, well, better.

But I wasn’t in the basement of the house formerly known as mine to take a stroll down memory lane, nor was I there to marvel at the size of the basement and amount of storage capacity of the room (although I had a Jealous about the storage potential).

No, I was there to pick up some of the Christmas things I’d been collecting for as long as I’d been with Dave.

Always one for tradition, I’d been buying one of those Hallmark holiday ornaments for each person in my immediate family, one that showcased the past year. When Ben was a tot and in his Inter-planet Janet Phase, I’d bought a Moon Landing ornament, I’ve bought one for each of the babies first Christmases, and others that represented parts of the previous year.

As the babies were wee, I never was able to put those ornaments up without fear that they’d be gnawed on and lead to the eventual death by ornament which isn’t particularly festive, so these ornaments stayed carefully in their boxes, waiting for the day that the kids were older and were less apt to die by ornament. I pictured Dave and I, sitting around as old farts, our kids grown (perhaps with their OWN kids) looking back at the ornaments I’d bought so long before and remembering.

The Universe does laugh at my plans – instead, I sat alone in the fridgid basement, sneezing, blowing dust off the boxes I’d carefully packed, remembering. A blue ribbon and a silver spoon dated 2007, for Alex’s first Christmas. The Dexter’s Laboratory ornament I’d gotten to represent my dreams of going back to school to study virology. The penguin ornaments I’d selected for Dave. The tiny ballerina I’d bought for my (then) tiny daughter.

Carefully, I went through the boxes, selecting the ornaments that meant something. To me, they were memories of happier times. Times when dreams were real and happiness brimmed through the walls of the house. Times less complicated. To Dave, it was just stuff.

Nearly done, blindly I reached into the very last bin, making certain I’d gotten all I’d come for. As I dug around the bin, an unexpected and sharp pain caused an unladylike yelp. Quickly, I pulled my finger from the box to see what had attacked me. Already, a glistening bead of blood had formed and without thinking, I stuck my finger in my mouth.

Pulling my finger out, I realized I hadn’t anything to staunch the blood, and onto the cold basement floor it pattered as I stood there, wondering how it had all gone so horribly wrong.

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37 Responses to Shattered Glass

  • Shattered Glass http://t.co/29whEqoS

  • ArykaNotErika says:

    I love you dearly. That’s all I got. Well that and many ways to be reached, all of which you have and will hopefully use if you need to.

  • No Good says:

    XO

  • cato says:

    I’m so sorry Becks. I feel the pain when I find things that had been purchased a life ago, and I realize that life is no more. Sending you my love.

  • Judy Susan says:

    It may not seem like it now, but all this stuff does get easier. There will be more bright Christmas days. it’s just, this journey to get there is such a suck wad deal. I’m sorry you have to walk the journey, so many of us taken.

    Forge forward.. keep an eye on the shadows, but keep your focus on the light..

  • Becca says:

    I understand your sadness hon, and wish there were something we coud do to make it better. Just know that we are here to listen, and commiserate. Grief takes as long as it takes, don’t rush even though it’s hard and makes you want to go faster. Go at your pace, within your time. Hugs.

  • Joannie says:

    This exact same scenario happened to me this year. I don’t get it. How the hell did I end up here? I work at a hospital and everyday I see all these people who have lived lifetimes together. Many Christmas ornaments together. I’m alone in my apartment, too, Becky, with just my daughter, my ex-husband who should have been my forever living across town. I don’t understand it. I know “it’s for the best.” I know “it will get better.” But, for now, it fucking sucks.

  • Joules says:

    I hear you and I’m sorry you’re going through all of this. Shit is hard, yo. I believe that next year will be worlds better. xoxo

  • As probably one of the few men who follow your prose… I can feel your pain as well… separation however stable and good or horribly askew it comes to pass – is always a heart-wrenching time, and as in your case damage inflicting as well. I too have boxes packed away from lives gone by and cannot ever seem to just sit down once and for all and finish the outcome for them. Be strong as you always are, be vulnerable when you need to – we’ll be here to support you either way. PoppaDoug

  • samantha says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for such a long time, but I rarely comment.

    I’m so sorry you’re going through all this. I can’t imagine. However, I know of other kinds of loss. My father died when I was 25 after a short and horrific illness. (ALS) The first year was so hard to get through, I look back now (10 years later) and don’t know how I did it. But I did do it. And you will too. And you will look back someday and think, “Shit, I did it.”

    Until then, please know that a total stranger is saying a (mostly non-denominational, somewhat Jewish) prayer for you.

  • Grace says:

    Those haunting memories of the better days are so hard. I’m so sorry you were literally and figuratively hurt by them today. Sending you lots and lots of love.

  • random cow bell guy says:

    Beck you dont get over it but you do get past it. One foot in front on the other kiddo…

  • Amelia says:

    Sending love, always.

  • Cindy Medina
    Twitter: medinacd
    says:

    <3

  • Shannon
    Twitter: Undertakinge
    says:

    I fear that some day very soon I may be packing up boxes of memories. The thought of doing that and starting over as a single mom fills me with so much dread and pain that I’m paralyzed into continuing to live a lie. Thanks for sharing this story. It (along with the comments above) pushes me to be braver.

  • Cindy DuBois says:

    I’ve had a similar Christmas ornament meltdown many years ago. I’m not sure why the Christmas ornaments are one of the most painful parts. Haven’t had a tree again in years but I don’t have kids. My heart is with you.

  • Jackie C. says:

    I am an avid lurker here, but this time I felt I had to speak. To me, this was an incredibly powerful post. I teared up reading this as it brought back some bittersweet memories of my own divorce 4 1/2 years ago. Even though I initiated it, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. No one sane enters a marriage expecting divorce. You build a life with this other person, and you shape and support one another’s hopes and dreams. Until, one day, that life is gone. Yes, I knew it was for the best, but I still grieved for the life I thought I would have.
    It was scary, being on my own with three kiddos depending on me. It was also one of the bravest things I’ve ever done. That first year is so hard, but just like others have said: it WILL get better. Proof, you say? In June, I married the most amazing man. We have a great life. It isn’t perfect, but I learned enough about myself and my needs that first year alone to know what qualities in a mate would work best with my personality. I understand what’s at stake this time around having been there before and he is more precious to me because of it. Is it what I always imagined my life would be? No. It’s better. You, Aunt Becky, will get here. You’re an amazing person, and there is an amazing life waiting for you. Promise.

  • coping with divorce (from a professional!) says:

    YAB, i can call you that cuz we’re family right? in reality, i’m older than your mom, but it’s more fun, for me anyway, cuz you are so much better than the real Aunts i’ve been stuck with. here’s the brutal honesty, every single day of the first year will find a way to cut your heart, drain your soul, and force you to improve your make-up application skills. i can tell you’ll survive this in one piece. do not think denial is still not your friend. her first name is now coping, middle name denial. let me share what i finally learned to not only get though, but remember happiness & success is the sweetest revenge. not to your ex, but to the bitch called WTH? you know how some people tear pictures in half so only they show, the happy smile in their eyes? focus doing that in your mind. i kept my mental happy times, but changed them to me with my daughters in the frame now and then re-took that picture for my future memory. on years they spent the holiday with their dad, i saved all my decorating and tree shopping and baking for when they were with me, because that was our normal before, now with one less person telling you what to do. we had always had the best time doing these things together in the past, why should i let my crippling soul wrentching hurt (or anger) feelings still trying to hold on to the past, get into my way of the happy memories i’m going to make and hold on to now. even if it killed me. the pain of doing the preperations alone was too hard to handle alone in the beginning. consentrating on making new memories for the future made it easier to deal with the open wounds from each year, each holiday, each parent teacher meeting. then someday you’ll notice that wound isn’t that huge slice that felt like you were going to die from, but is now a little scab that you can pick off. when you’re ready. everyone heals at different speeds. but you’ll get through this in one piece (use your jedi mind tricks if you must!) and with good make-up, lighting, and camera angles, you’ll be better than before! i wish i could hold your hand through this part of your journey, even if just to whisper the words to remind you of how freaking awsome you were, ARE, and always will be. each day is too precious to waste on what can’t be changed. hold your head up high, smile, and move forward. (save the crying for when you’re alone and have time for your puffy eyes to go down to normal. that’s what i referred to as my time between movie scenes) enjoy writing this new chapter. you can be the hero now!

  • Ruth says:

    This is the second post I’m commenting on tonight but I couldn’t help it. I am in tears right now because I totally get how you are feeling. (short history) I packed up my little girl, who turned 3 yesterday, in March of this year because my Husband was having an affair with the babysitter. She was also my friend. and I”m pretty sure my daughter’s birthday party yesterday was the hardest thing I’ve dealt with yet. I invited her father, because at 3 years old she doesn’t quite understand why mommy and daddy don’t live together anymore. And I was pleasant the whole evening. Even as he was being a rude insufferable jerk. I made it through the party, even while keeping my huge family from trying to dig a ditch in the parking lot and bury him in it. The last of the “guests” left. It was just me, my daughter, my parents and my two best friends and I completely lost it. I couldn’t stop crying for what felt like forever and then the hysterical laughter happened. And I have been completely like a giant waterworks ever since. My mom keeps telling me it will get better, (she’s been through this herself), my friends try very hard to help me…. but I still have these moments where I just want to snap out of this existence and get back to my real life. Because THIS can’t be it. I am just dreading going through the christmas ornaments to have to deal with the ones I got because we were a family…. we aren’t anymore.

    Thank you so much for your blog…. I think I’m going to be checking in from now on…. Ruth

  • leanne says:

    Oh, Becky. Wishing you peace. And sending you hugs.

    (though can I also add that I buy my kids ornaments every year to put in their stocking. it’s my little tradition for them. And it makes me incredibly happy.)

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