Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Today while I was sitting here working, there was a loud crash directly behind me and the sound of breaking glass. It was the shelf in my hutch that held all my pretty glass stuff. One of the shelf holders just fell out and the whole shelf crashed down.

Through the glass doors, I could see that nearly everything was broken. I started bawling hysterically. My heart was broken right along with the glass.

It wasn’t about the stuff. Really, it wasn’t. At the end of the day, it’s all just stuff.

It’s just that this particular stuff was teacups and saucers passed down to me by my great-grandmother. Angels that had been my mothers until she died. Glass bunnies I’d received as gifts from my kids.

I’ve been on a minimalism journey for several years and have rid myself of most of my collectibles and precious items. This was the distilled, best-of-the-best, most precious, most infused with memories things. These were the items I’d carefully packed every time we moved in layers of bubble wrap. The reason I have an $8,000 dining room set (no, I didn’t pay that much, but it did not come cheap).

This was the stuff I would have split between my daughters.

And now, most of it is in the trash.

I’m done crying. The glass is all cleaned up. The shelf is re-seated. The remaining few things that didn’t break are back on the shelf.

But I’m sad. Not because of the stuff that broke…but because it brought up so many memories of the women in my life – my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother – who are no longer with me. The few things I kept each held a memory of a moment in time or an experience I had with them.

Today I was already a little bit emotional. It’s my youngest child’s 16th birthday. And I realized this morning that it’s the last birthday she’ll actually spend here at home with us. She’s skipped two grades and graduates in June. She will be away at college for her 17th and 18th birthdays (they’ll be school days, I checked).

So maybe the broken shelf was a gift from my great-grandmother, my grandmother, and my mother to let me have a good cry session before my daughter gets home from school…because she wants to celebrate this milestone – and I want to celebrate it with her. Without tears, without worrying about how I will celebrate with her next year.

Glass breaks, but memories don’t.