Broken, Towards Wholeness

“Tears are words that need to be written.”- Paulo Coelho

Broken, Towards Wholeness
encaustic mixed media
20×16 inches

…or painted, or sewn, or….

In the days following the Newtown shootings, I found myself thinking of the tragedy and my chest would fill with a sharp pain and I would weep. I never did this in front of my own children and thankfully they are both too young to know of the tragedy. I would do it while washing the dishes, cleaning off the dining table, folding laundry. Those moments when the mind wanders and lets down its guard.

And I didn’t cry because I am a mother and thought of my own children in that situation, although I cannot even imagine that. I cried because I am a human. I cried from being outraged by the senseless violence against innocent children. Just as I am outraged when I hear news of children caught in the crossfires of inner city violence. I also wept at the thought of the lives cut so short, the terror they must have felt, the teachers who tried to protect the children, and the children who were witnesses to it all and have to find a way to heal. Especially those children. The loss of innocence.

Experiencing the death and loss of a loved one always feels so unfair and so painful because it seems impossible for the world to continue as it were. Life just carries on. And in your grief, you think, how can that be? But that is how it has to be. The broken pieces must be patched together somehow, some way in order for us to carry on.

One afternoon I was sitting at the dining room table, eating, and I was staring at this painting that hangs in the room as I listened to NPR in the background of some other horrible story of humanity. I was thinking of how broken this world is, how broken we are…and then I envisioned sewing pieces of tea-stained papers together and forming a bowl. Mending, healing, patching.

And that is what I did the next time I was in the studio and this painting took shape. Strange how ideas are sparked and how metaphors grow and change as I keep exploring the bowl.

“The human heart has a way of making itself large again even after it’s been broken into a million pieces.” – Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County

*EDIT* Thanks to Jennifer,I retitled my painting. I had been struggling with the title since I painted it and what she said in her comment below is why I was having a hard time with it. Thanks Jennifer!


    1. Thanks Rosie. The world has always been broken and will continue to be so, but there is always hope that people will be out there attempting to heal and fix what’s broken.

  1. Thank you for this post. It is in the quiet times when the mind wanders and the guard is down that the tragedy of Newtown hits. It’s just up the road from us and no part of this area has been unaffected.

    May I say that by the end of your post, reading your words, I thought of the painting as Mending rather than Broken?

  2. I love how the mended bowl is rising from a dark place and seeking light. You speak so eloquently in your words and paintings. Thank you, Bridgette

  3. I have to stop myself from thinking about this tragedy. It’s just too tender. But I don’t have to stop thinking about ways we might reduce this kind of violence. I admire the way you too the emotions and thoughts and turned them into a creative act.

    1. So true Leslie. I hope that we can make some changes to help reduce the violence.
      Thanks, it’s the best way for me to process the emotions. I am grateful that I have that.

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