Broken glass

Of course I miss my grandmother. It’s been years since she passed away, but I miss her still. I’m sure we all do, when we stop and realize it. Though it’s not often I stop to realize too many things. Not stopping is a bit of a coping mechanism, you might say. Or maybe you’d say defense mechanism. I guess I’ll just call it ‘my mechanism.’

Anyhow, so, it wasn’t long after we finally moved to Canada for keeps that Lulu passed. She was staying at my aunt’s cottage, and I had the good fortune to spend many days with her and my aunt. Zsolt and I would go up to keep them company, because it can become lonely in the middle of the forest. Then one day, she was in pain, and there was an ambulance, and then suddenly she was gone.

But that was then.

As I said, we had finally moved to Canada, and Zsolt and I were setting up our home. So, much of Lulu’s things came to us. We had her two sofas that were straight from the 90s, we got the stack of lovely plates with the sunflower pattern, we received her old record player and some lovely music, and, among other things, we received some lovely glasses with a light etching of a flower.

Back when I was a kid, we’d visit Lulu at her apartment in Montreal where all these things once lived. And while visiting, she’d offer us a Pepsi. Since our household in Ottawa never had such an abundance of pop – of course it was nice to have a Pepsi at Lulu’s apartment. But she didn’t serve the Pepsi in its can. Instead, she’d pour it into a glass.

And that’s what I think about when I look at those glasses. Or maybe, rather, that’s what I feel. I feel her and her Pepsi, and how it was to visit. I was a kid, keep in mind, so the visits were mostly totally boring – at least until I grew up. But still, it was a good feeling to be there in those moments.

Anyhow, the thing about glass is that – you know – it breaks.

Fact: my cupboard is filled with MUGS because I don’t buy glasses. They drop and shatter and it’s a catastrophe. But when there was a chance to take Lulu’s glasses, I went for it. We’ve been enjoying them for the past few years. And somehow, they keep her in my mind.

Unfortunately, as I said, glass breaks. One by one Lulu’s glasses broke. There were only a few, and then there were fewer. After tonight there are now officially none.

The last glass broke this evening.

I had no idea, apparently, how much they mattered to me. As soon as I realized the last glass was gone, I just blubbered like you wouldn’t believe. Like, ridiculous. Zsolt thought I had gone crazy. But you know, somehow she was suddenly more gone than she had been only moments before. Or maybe it just reminded me that we had lost her. Or maybe . . . I don’t know, maybe too many things have been held inside and pushed away through my mechanisms.

So I cried for the glass, and I cried for my grandmother – and I cried because sometimes it’s just better to let everything out. It’s not that the world is terrible, or life is crazy, or I’m uncomfortable. None of those apply. It’s just that the tears started and would not stop.

I think we’ve had many reasons to cry lately. From internal struggles, body issues, to real world horrors. There have been reasons to cry. And yet the tears have been held back…… but emotions don’t dissipate simply because I prefer to ignore them. They apparently wait. They wait, and then, when the last glass shatters, they finally unleash.

There’s no moral here, this is just a story. Just one story. And I have other cups – I have mugs made by family, and champagne flutes given by friends, and tea cups from my mother-in-law, and cups from England, and many wonderful things all around. It’s nice to look upon an object and remember that love lays behind it. If nothing else, I was reminded of that tonight, and reminded of my grandmother. Even if I cried, I cried for her – and it was very much a needed physical relief.


Lulu, wherever and whatever you are, I hope it’s good. I hope it’s very, very, very good.




11 thoughts on “Broken glass

  1. Hi Catherine,
    What a lovely story. And sad too. I’m sorry the special glasses are gone. I’m sure your grandmother would not be upset about her broken glasses, but rather she’d be happy you enjoyed using them as long as you did. But it makes perfect sense that you cried your eyes out when the last of those special glasses broke because it really wasn’t about the glasses at all, right? This reminds of my grandma. She had loads of dishes and when I was little, of course, I broke a few. She always reminded me that people mattered way more than any dish. I mattered more than any dish. I never forgot that. Anyway, thank you for sharing about your grandmother and for reminding me about mine. Grandmas, their dishes and memories – they’re all pretty wonderful.

  2. I totally empathize. I had just one blue bowl with flowers on it from my aunt and my university roommate broke it and that started a flood. It’s party because I put too much sentimental weight on things with a history and partly that I always want to fix things, or believe things CAN be fixed, and a broken dish flies in the face of that. It’s a tough reality to confront.

    I have a set of lovely teacups that were my grandmothers that we basically never use – but now I think it might be better to get them out, and think about her, and remember her, and yes, run the risk of breakage. Because a broken dish maybe isn’t fixable – but an unbroken dish that never gets used isn’t much of a memory.

  3. Pingback: Weekly Round Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

  4. I can relate to the broken glasses. I’ve cried over objects that were symbols of my memories. I’m glad that you got pleasure from the use of Lulus’s glasses, an exchange of loving energy with them.

    I’ve discovered that when I pack objects away for sentimental reasons, I forget about them and am accused of being a pack rat. Instead, I’ll photograph them, and when I use them and they break, I can write about what they meant to me. Somehow writing about them makes the memory more valuable and the loss of the prized object less overwhelming.

    You have such a talent of putting your memories to paper and touching our hearts. Thank you for your stories.

  5. That was such a beautiful post. I know exactly how you feel. It is so hard when you lose a last connection to someone you loved. I lost my sister 4 years ago and I have very few things from her. The few things I do have I cherish and would be devastated if they were lost or broken. I’m so sorry for your loss. I know she will always be there in your heart.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s