Friday, January 6, 2012

It's the start of another year and I've been missing my Mom a lot lately. Of course, the holidays are always hard, and this was our third Christmas without her. Then just this past week a wonderful lady in our ward passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She reminded me a lot of my Mom and I made sure to take the opportunity to hug her and tell her how much I love and admire her. It is so strange to think that she is now up there with my Mom. Then I read this post over at and it made me cry. She lost her Mom a few years ago to cancer as well. I totally identify with her. I thought I would repost it because it really captured a lot of my own feelings.

Last Friday night, I decided to make some popcorn for my boys while they watched a movie. There were only a few days left of their Christmas break, and we were soaking up some family time.

I LOVE popcorn! So I was so excited to be making some. The popcorn bowls were stored in the lower cabinet by the stove, so I bent down to get them out. As I was reaching for the bowls, my arm hit some of the casserole dishes that were stored in there too, and two of them slid out and fell on the floor with a loud breaking crash.

I froze as I looked down to see what had just happened.

There on the floor lay two broken casserole dishes. Not just any two dishes.

One glass casserole dish used to be my grandmother’s. It still had her handwriting on a piece of tape on the bottom of the dish with her name on it. My mom inherited that dish when her mom passed away. And it was passed on to me when my mom passed away.

The second dish was a gift to me from my mom. It was one of the last birthday gifts I ever received from her. I loved that casserole dish. Every time I used it, I felt mom’s love.

And there it lay on the floor broken.

As I knelt beside the broken dishes, my boys’ came running in the room to see what had made that loud crashing sound.

“What happened, Mom?” they asked.

I could hardly speak.

“Go get Daddy.” I said to my oldest.

Jonathan yelled at Cy to come quick, and then I heard Cy running across the house. He had no idea what had just happened. He was probably expecting to see something terribly wrong, but instead, he just saw me kneeling on the floor by some broken dishes.

He stopped.

“Mom gave me these dishes.” I said through a face full of tears.

“Go in the other room, boys.” He said.

And then without saying a word, Cy came and knelt down behind me, wrapping his arms around me, and I began to sob.

I couldn’t stop crying.

I felt stupid for crying so hard over broken dishes, but I couldn’t stop crying.

We knelt there together without saying a word for several minutes. And then finally I was able to choke out, “I know they are just dishes…. but they are all I have left of Mom.”

Cy got up quietly and got a broom to start sweeping up the broken pieces. I stood up beside the sink and watched as he put the bigger pieces on the stove and swept the smaller pieces in the dust pan.

I still couldn’t stop crying. Those broken dishes had opened up that broken place in my heart where I lost my mom.

I laid my head on the counter top and continued crying. My heart was hurting. I think my heart was extra tender at that moment. For the past few weeks, my heart had been flooded with Christmas memories of Mom, and I had been holding it all in. Christmas just hasn’t felt the same since Mom has been gone.

It’s still special, don’t get me wrong. But boy do I miss her at Christmas.

I was standing in line at a store a couple days before Christmas getting some gifts for my boys, when I overheard a mother and daughter talking at the register beside me. The daughter looked my age, and she had her toddler with her. They were talking about Christmas plans and what gifts they still had left to buy.

All of a sudden, I felt a pain in that broken place in my heart. I remember having those same conversations with my mom just a few years back.

I missed Mom.

When the daughter got up to the cashier to pay for her items, the mom said, “I’ll get this.”

“No, Mom. You don’t have to do that. I’ll get it,” the daughter replied.

“No, no, honey, I’m gonna pay for this,” the Mom insisted.

And again, my heart sank as I handed the cashier my money.

I remember moments like that. When Mom used to help take care of me. When she knew that money was tight and I was doing my best to take care of my boys, and she would say to the cashier, “No. I’m gonna pay for this.” And I felt my mother’s love. That deep, deep love of a mother.


That’s how I feel sometimes.

Just like my broken dishes.

Cy offered to glue the birthday dish back together for me, and I’m going to let him.

I won’t be able to ever cook in it again, but at least I can put it on a shelf and look at it. He won’t be able to glue it back together perfectly, but good enough.

I’m a lot like that broken dish.

My life may look “good enough” on the outside, but my heart still has broken places in it that can never be fixed.

My mother will never be back. I will not be with her again on this earth.

Broken places.

Do you have them?

Truth is…we all do.

We all have those broken places in our lives where bad things happened to us. Or maybe things didn’t turn out like we had planned. Maybe we have been disappointed by something or someone. Maybe we have things in our past that have left scars on our hearts.

But here is the good news:

Beautiful things can grow in broken places.



Beauty has sprung from my broken place.

Though the heartache of losing my mom will never go away this side of heaven, I can honestly say that beautiful things have grown in that broken since then.

I am not who I was before my mom passed away, and I am grateful for that.

In my broken place, I have found a better perspective of what is truly important in life. I have found a deeper walk with Christ. I have found a greater love for family and friends.

Only Christ can bring beauty from our broken places.



But we have to let Him.

We have to trust. We have to pray. We have to hide His word in our hearts.

I love the following verse. (I inserted the word brokeness.)

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (brokeness).” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses (brokeness), so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God’s love can be made perfect in our brokeness. Praise HIM!

We all are broken, aren’t we? Some of us have little cracks in our lives and some of us have big gaping holes.

My prayer is that as we start this new year together, we would allow Jesus to grow beauty in our broken places.

I do feel broken in many ways, and even though it may not show on the outside all the time, I feel it deeply on the inside. I think I am still looking for ways to have something beautiful come from the broken places in my heart. After Marilyns funeral the other day I sobbed. Kate was the only one home and she came to my rescue. She let me just hold her and cry. She whispered in the softest, most tender voice, "It's okay, Mama." And I felt my Mom's love. Many people commented on her post and wished that they had even a fraction of a relationship like that with their mothers. I am so grateful for the closeness that we shared/share and that she will always be my shining example.


Rod and Jess said...

Words don't even seem appropriate or necessary right now, but I had to say thank you anyway. I can't think of a better way to describe that place in your heart when you lose someone you love. Even with the knowledge that we have that we'll see our loved ones again, it's impossible not to long for them and miss them in the meantime. I am so grateful that you are willing to be so real and share such tender thoughts. It is always a kick in my pants to stop and count my blessings. You are an amazing woman, and I know your mom is a bigger part of you than you even realize. Thanks for all of your tender words as we have gone through our own loss. We love you all.

Daisy Chick said...

Jenny, thank you for a beautiful post. I love you and am eternally grateful to not only be related to you, but to be friends with you. You are amazing. God bless you.

Heather said...

I'm so sorry Jen, I know what you mean. I've really been struggling too lately. I'm sorry I took such a long leave from blogging, but I'm glad that I checked out your blog today. I really wish that she was still her and that dad was happy again. It seems like so many things aren't right with her gone. I wish I were there so that we could go out and just talk. I love you so much. You are a lot like mom and I love you so much. I'm very lucky to have you as a sister. love you!!

Jill said...

that made me cry too. I loved the picture of the crack with the flowers growing out of it. That's how I feel a lot. That broken part of my heart it still there, but from it comes so much beauty. You are a great example of finding strength through trials. I know your Mom is so porud of you.

Karen and Joe said...

My dear sweet Jen,
I cannot even imagine how you must feel. When the time comes for my mom (Grandma) to pass away, it will be different too because I have been blessed to have her all these years.
All I can do is love and support you and Kevin and your family and learn from what a great example your mom was. Live each day to it's fullest so I can try to be a good mother and grandmother like your mom was.
There are things in life that are broken, but through the Savior we can get through it, because he has gone through it all himself.
Thank goodness for the love and sweet innocence of little children to know just what to say when we are down, their love is so pure.
I love you with all my heart, and your whole family. I wish I could take away your pain, but with the pain are her memories, and you would never want those taken away.
My thoughts and prayers go out to you and Heather as you continue your journey through this.
Thank you for being so honest and courageous to share it.

Katie said...

Oh man. You know I have said it to you before but it is hard to act happy when you feel so mad and angry. So broken. I can relate to that. I am so sorry. It is hard to go through hard things- especially when they don't go the way we want.

Rachel said...

Here's to broken places! May many beautiful things grow out of them!

Live More Now said...

Oh Jenny. I can so relate.

And broken casserole dishes always remind me of my mom, too. On the day she was diagnosed (Thanksgiving day), my sister and I opened the fridge and for some crazy reason the 9x13" pan with all the sweet potatoes came flying out and smashed all over the floor. I will never forget that moment because it symbolized how we all felt - chaotic, falling, broken.

The missing and brokenness will always be there, and for that I am grateful. I would never want to forget.

I love you. Hang in there. Hug your sweet sweet fam {and yourself!}