December, January, and February are terrible months for me. They are months I spend nearly all my energy on necessary enslavement to seasonal demands that call on my most inferior functions to step up and do their duty. I do it every year with the peevishness of a colicky baby, but this particular year I’ve felt it might kill me. I’ve dreamed of escapes from death and death-defying acts, and within the past month events have occurred that have made me look at ideas of loss and irreparable brokenness and goneness.
Since the theft of my billfold last month, more things have inexplicably gone missing around my house. In addition, two family heirlooms that have survived three generations have been broken. One, a clock, belonged to my grandfather; the other, an etched glass bud vase, to my grandmother. Coming on the heels of the stolen wallet and other missing items, these were powerful losses. Though I have made half-hearted protests against these fateful events, I knew it was useless to resist the brokenness. I knew because of my experience with the theft of my billfold. When I discovered my billfold had been stolen, I felt quite calm as soon as I knew for sure that it had, in fact, been stolen and not misplaced. Stolen in that case meant it will not return. Stolen meant “it’s gone.”
Sometimes broken means “it’s gone,” too. Sometimes even if you can repair or glue it, you know it will never be the same again and that the life of the object is over. Its heirloom quality and the energy it carried for the ancestors is gone. I knew this when my grandmother’s etched vase was broken, and I threw it in the trash with despair. Looking back on my action, I feel regret, for I owed the vase something better than that. I owed that vase the respect of everything it had carried for my grandparents, parents, and myself. But I tossed it into the trash can because I am myself so full of despair these days, because I am so brittle and broken lately. My ego life is broken, my past way of living is broken, years during which I truly thought I knew what I was doing and believed in myself and the goodness and rightness of so many of my decisions. My ego, traipsing about through life looking (and being) so successful. Just as empty as a cracked vase, as useless as a clock that can’t keep ticking. Broken beyond repair.
The useful life of these things has ended. My ancestors speak: “Time to move on,” they say. “What happened before is broken forever. Move on.”