I stare at the remains of my mailbox post, the jagged ends of wood spiking rough toward the sky. However this happened, whoever did this, they had no idea that when they sent my mailbox hurtling from its post, the wood splintered and shattered and smashed into my life already broken with grief and struggling to get through one more hour, one more day without Kevin.
They could not have known that one more broken thing was too much.
I barely close the door on the police officer before tears slide down my face and I huddle in bed, sink in the concave mattress hollowed by his body, cling to Kevin’s pillow and I cry, shaking with wrenching sobs.
Over a broken mailbox.
But it’s not the mailbox. It’s the brokenness. It’s the senseless, random brokenness of life that makes me cry. Of lives lost, of love unreturned, of laughter muted. The brokenness of my life that I can’t fix. So much brokenness, and I struggle to keep hold of the tenuous grip I have on my unsteady, not ready, Kevin-less life.
The broken post, the broken life. The pieces are in my hands and I need to do something. I want to fix this or that. Fix something, or everything. I need to put something back together, or at least try. I need some pieces to stand strong again. I need to feel strong again, for me, for Kevin, for our daughter. I finally fall asleep, drained from the tears and the loneliness and the emptiness.
I wake up. The bed is still empty. I look outside. The mailbox post is still shattered. I go out and in the damp and the grey, I dig around the post, stabbing at the ground, deeper and deeper, my tears soaking the earth with each spade of black dirt I turn over. I grasp the post and tug, throwing myself against it; it won’t move. I’m not strong enough.
The sun shines and the doorbell rings and my friend is on the other side, ready to take on the brokenness with me. Her husband pushes and pulls and the work I’d done, the digging deep, the straining and tears – my work, weak and futile as it felt, made a difference, uncovering the base of the post, and he pulled it free and the brokenness began to heal.
I look out the window and the mailbox is squarely on the new post, and it stands, straight and new and ready.
Though the new post is not completely steady yet, it will be. When the concrete and the ground are firm, it will stand solid. The healing is happening. It only needs time.
And the broken post?
Shattered, but still strong, it leans, bracing at a slant, firm against the new post, holding it straight, propping it up until it’s steady. Until it’s ready to stand on its own.
And I see.
In the brokenness, there is strength. Out of the brokenness, there will be healing.