The last couple months have been a perfect storm of grief, tears, laughter, spontaneous adventures, ugly cries, bear hugs, sunshine, and yoga. In the seven weeks since my son was stillborn I’ve gone through periods of emptiness, fullness, feeling lonely, feeling loved, having a hard time relating to friends, and connecting on such deep levels with strangers. When I went through the initial shock of losing my child I thought I would never be happy again. I wondered if I would ever laugh again or feel true joy.

When bad things happen to you, or when you go through something traumatic it feels like you have this open wound. It feels like your heart has literally been ripped from your chest; a scalpel dug into your chest cavity, ribs cracked open, and a hand plunging in there to rip that full sized aortic pump (any Friends fans out there?) right out of you.

I was scared I would never feel like myself again, not just on the surface but underneath my skin. Would I continue on as my authentic being, still rooted in the same beliefs I always had? A grief counselor at the hospital told me I would never be the same, that I would continue on with life, but it would be a new normal.

When the unimaginable becomes reality, one must rise from the ashes just as the phoenix does. One must rise up and be reborn, continue on with a new life as a new person, with a new perspective. One must repair themselves.

In most societies, when a plate is dropped and breaks, it gets thrown away. We assume the broken pieces can’t be used anymore and the plate is useless. However, in Japan, they take the broken pieces and put them back together, even more resplendent than before. This practice is called “kintsugi.”

Lifegate.com says,”This traditional Japanese art uses a precious metal – liquid gold, liquid silver or lacquer dusted with powdered gold – to bring together the pieces of a broken pottery item and at the same time enhance the breaks. The technique consists in joining fragments and giving them a new, more refined aspect. Every repaired piece is unique, because of the randomness with which ceramics shatters and the irregular patterns formed that are enhanced with the use of metals.”

Our broken pieces can be put back together, and they leave behind radiant scars for all the world to see. I could go on and on about what these difficult experiences have taught me but what really matters is the beauty between the cracks. When going through tough experiences we must pour liquid gold in the cracks, mend ourselves, and start anew with a new outlook on life and scars to show for it.

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