Picking up the pieces


I have to admit. Though I was a Spanish and ESL teacher for so long, I am terrible with idioms in both languages. You know, those sayings or pearls of wisdom. I can never repeat them correctly. I always forget how they go together. Oddly, though, idioms are going through my head these days.

This one…picking up the pieces. I’ve been thinking a lot about this.

Picking up the pieces implies that you have all the pieces, and that in some way, shape or form you can glue a broken object back together, or maybe put something together, like a jigsaw puzzle. And that somehow those pieces will go back together in some coherent manner.

So I’ve been thinking about “picking up the pieces.” But of course, I don’t have all of the pieces anymore. So no matter how I try to put them back together, there will always be something missing. A really large something. No matter how I try to pick up the pieces, they will never go back together right for me.

Normally I’m pretty okay with that. I am a person who finds structure in different ways. If something breaks, normally I’m easily able to see a new and creative way to put whatever it is together in a new way that maybe won’t make sense to everyone, but makes sense to me, and very often delights me in its new form.

But this time…I’m not seeing it at all. The cover photo is of a very short poem Chris wrote. I’m not really sure if it’s complete or not, but this is the way it appears in his journal:

The path whole

And the way it is here, it feels like it’s not quite finished, like he wasn’t sure where to go next.

I am normally very goal-driven, vision-oriented. I see things as they could be and how I’d like them to be. One time Austin told me I had the “gift of vision.” (I had actually had a strange experience with a kind of young boy visitor one night as I slept who appeared to be playing in an elevator and who I actually felt tap me twice on my knee that was sticking out of my covers. At first I thought it was Chris and I told him to go to bed because I was sleeping. He wasn’t the greatest sleeper when he was young. The second time I opened my eyes and it was a kind of vision of a boy. He smiled, like he was playing, and he left. Yes, you’re learning my strange secrets).

So, anyway, Austin was talking about something a little different, but I do have a very visual way of experiencing thoughts. But I don’t see them now. I see a Monet type of jigsaw, but with pieces missing in the middle and the colors blurred because I can’t see them.

Or I think of a clay jar that has been broken, but not glued together with gold or something like that, but with a big gaping hole. It’s a vessel filling with my tears, but not really filling because the hole keeps allowing the salt water to flow out, so there seems to be a stream of never-ending tears.

That’s how I see it now. I know this is not exactly how things will always remain. There will always be holes. They’ll never be filled. And somehow a new picture will become clearer to me. And the jar will come together in a new way, probably misshapen, but enough so that I can see the new form.

Little by little. Second by second, hour by hour, day by day, month by month.

Tree story

And love will be exhaled. It is already breathing in the love I have for Chris and for Austin, and the in the breaths so many of you are taking with me and with our family.


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