Broken Ornaments & Broken Hearts

November 4, 2020

This year I finally mustered up the courage to open my mother’s boxes of ornaments. The ones that have gone unopened for three Christmases. The amount of Christmases she’s been gone. The ones in the back of the closet. The ones that were last opened by my mother. 

This year, things were going to be different. I decided to purchase a special tree with the sole purpose of housing her ornaments. It would be her tree. A tree to honor her. A tree to reminisce and remember. 

I turned on some traditional Christmas tunes and began decorating our new tree with all of the colorful ornaments my mother had once loved. It filled me with joy. It filled my heart with happiness and honor. It filled my entire being with my mother’s love and guidance. 

Somehow, the further and further I got down the box, the heavier and heavier this venture had become. As I lifted the last few ornaments I noticed a disheartening sight. One of the ornaments had broken into pieces, a purple one, my mother’s favorite. I stopped and stared intently at this broken piece of beauty. Tears filled my eyes, sorrow filled my heart, longing filled my soul. 

This beautiful purple ornament and I are so very much alike. Both broken, ripped open with sharp edges and shattered pieces so small they could never be collected and repaired. 

Broken.

Irreparable.

Shattered.

Unable to be fixed.

Damaged, completely.

But also, still radiating light and love. This delicate ornament was broken and shattered beyond repair, but also, the insides were illuminating with the most radiant light. Illuminated by love, I can only imagine. Illuminated by the lasting influence of someone special. 

Even with scattered pieces, it shines.

Even with no hope of repair, it glistens.

Even with no chance of regaining its original form, it radiates joy and light. 

After losing someone we love, we’re just like this fragile ornament. We’re broken beyond repair. We’re missing pieces. We’re damaged and irreparable. But we also continue to shine, even if only a slight twinkle. We glow and glisten from the love and influence of someone unforgettable, someone we love beyond measure. 

I never realized how beautiful broken could be until I saw the undeniable radiance of this delicate ornament shattered into pieces. 

Keep shining, friends. Through the heartbreak, through the pain, and through the unfair absence we’ve been left with. Because broken things are still beautiful, and they certainly still shine. 

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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