Beauty Through A Shattered Pane


                                                                 Beauty Through A Shattered Pane

I suppose we all look at our lives and record memories according to special occasions or painful events, by happy times and sad times, by events that ring out with joy and those which bring us much sadness. We measure our life span but those events that knock us to our knees in either extreme joy or pain. At those moments time stands still as if waiting for us to take our next breath and once again resume life. Not as it was, for that moment has changed something within us .

For me the birth of each of my three children has been one of those moments when life has stood still. I knew that my life had been changed forever when I heard each of their first cries. When I held those tiny beings against my chest,  my life was changed forever. Even now many years later, I cry in remembrance. All these many years later I still am in awe of that moment in time when they burst forth in life. When their eyes reached out to mine, when their warm bodies which had grown in mine for 9 months came forth and our outer skins touched for the first time , there was a quiet hush. Few words can rightfully describe that moment when soul touches soul. As a mother I knew my life had become richer and this tiny being would be connected to me forever. The umbilical cord is cut symbolizing a separation of our conjoined physical selves but the soul spirit remains connected. No object can sever our bond. That joyful moment represents our bond for life. My life stood still in reverence and with each birth my life was changed forever.

But now I stand before you with pain in my heart to say my life was changed forever,  in a different way. My 15 year old daughter, Chava, died 10 years ago this June. On that day my life was shattered. Not for a moment in time,  but forever. There are still all the joys of before but now time has a different meaning. Time is not measured in seconds and minutes, it has stood still. Days, weeks, months, and years mean nothing. All reference points begin and end at that moment in time when my youngest daughter’s breath stopped forever. I held her warm body for her first breath and I held her cold body when her breath stopped.
My world as I knew it was shattered. I was so numb I couldn’t even experience pain. I was neither here, nor there, I was nothing. I was a soul lost in a world that no longer made any sense to me. There was such a void that there was no warmth from sunlight, no marvel of starry nights, no coolness from running brooks, no scent of flowers, no fluttering of hummingbird wings. There was nothing.

Slowly, very slowly, the twinges of life began to move through me. Numbness began to wear off and so too the stabbing pain that felt unbearable. As my body began to function, my mind wanted no part of this world. But slowly, my mind too, began to let in specks of life. I became aware that the world of life continued to swirl around me but I knew not how to enter that current of life. At first I wasn’t even sure I wanted to but I realized I was faced with a choice. I could stay in darkness or I could slowly, very slowly begin to inch my way back into life. I could let life re-enter my body. Gradually as a seed begins to show it’s tiny head through the warm soil of life, I too could come back into this world. I was re-born, changed forever, but I could come back.

My shattered heart began to heal . In my heart I knew that the hole and scar would remain forever, but now I knew, I could also carry my , Chava , in my heart forever. Slowly I could begin to feel the warmth from the sunshine on my face , smell the intoxicating scent of the brilliant spring flowers, and rejoice in the starry night as the specks of light danced across the sky. I had re-entered the stream of life.

I will never be able to answer the question of ” Why ?” but perhaps mine is not to answer,  but rather to live. Life in all it’s complexities has unfathomable questions. I as one small speck, as one small leaf drifting along the stream,  can ebb and flow with the current , and at times , find respite in the quiet stillness harbored against a rock or piece of drift wood, but eventually I too will re-enter the stream and drift towards the mighty river. My questions become part of a bigger whole. I can choice to become part of that current, and by so doing, become less lonely, or I can remain alone in my darkness.

I have been blessed with the desire to once again swim in this stream of life. I feel blessed to be able to feel the love of All those I hold dear to my heart. Through shattered pain, through a refocused lens, I once again see the beauty in life.

submitted by   francie

Stepping Stones


                                                                                     Stepping Stones


The image of stepping stones brings back childhood memories of growing up on an old historic farm in Pa. . We had a large back yard that sloped down to a lower level where  there was an ever flowing stream. When you crossed the stream there were woods that led up to a small mountain. We played in and explored that stream for hours during our childhood. We watched the stream change from year to year , and so did we.

I can picture the stream in my mind’s eye as clearly as if it were yesterday. There were spots which were calm, deep, and dark where the fish seemed to swim, and areas where the stream bed was shallow and you could clearly see the pebbles on the bottom move with the flowing water. There was one spot where you could cross and stay dry despite the rushing water…..the stepping stones. By taking one step at a time,slowly, planting your feet cautiously from rock to rock, balancing before taking the next leep, you could get across to the other side.

That beloved stream had a life of it’s own. It would change from year to year depending on the harshness of the winter and the ice that would move what lay below,or by the occasional floods that would cause the stream to flood beyond it’s natural banks. As children we loved the ever changing stream as each year we would discover it anew. But the one thing we could count on from year to year was that the stepping stones would remain constant and we could always cross to the other side, perhaps not always as  in the most extreme time of flooding but as the water receeded we always knew we could find the stepping stones , and once again cross to safety.

After my daughter,Chava died ,it was as if my whole world had changed forever ,and so had I. Nothing was the same, and even the ground beneath me had shifted as the mighty ice changes a river bed. I was numb to life and I only wanted to crawl under my covers into the warmth of my bed. But gradually, very gradually I could surface and begin to let in some of the light of day. Over time, I could find my stepping stones which would keep me safe as I began to venture forth in this changed world. Each step forward helped me gather strength to take the next.It is a long agonizing journey, but now, nearly ten years after Chava’s death, I can say my heart still aches but I can once again face the world and begin to see the sparkle that dances upon the stream of life.

                                                                                                 By francie