Bowed But Not Broken


Broken Fence (c) SMG

When one of my children was about two, he would take a bite of a pretzel or plunge a tiny straw through the silver sliver sealing a juice box’s top.

Instantly, his face would dissolve from anticipation into abject disappointment.  He’d hold out the offending half-pretzel or opened box and utter one wounded word.


Mercifully, this phase did not last long.


May 22 088

Broken Iron (c) SMG

The eponymous lawyer in Better Call Saul is sickened when a scarlet-lipped woman begins casually snapping bread sticks.  Hours earlier he had seen a man’s legs being shattered as the man lay screaming atop desert sand tinted by a blood orange sun.

On her elder brother’s sixth birthday, one of my daughters fell only a short distance, from a bench. She broke her arm clean through in two places.

Yet within six weeks the bone had reconstituted itself.  I gaped at the follow-up x-ray of the arm that had dangled so grotesquely I can see it still.  Good as new.

“How can that be?”

“It’s a green stick injury,” the orthopedic surgeon said.  I winced.  “Like a tree branch. You can snap it, but if it’s young enough–green–it will grow back and you’ll never know it was broken.”

One can restore, to varying degrees, what’s been broken.  Sometimes we can only improvise and, as best we can, restore a semblance of what was.

2015 spring 314

Mending Fences (c) SMG


For my first birthday after my husband had died, family and friends indulged me in a pirate party. (Good people are deeply solicitous of the bereaved.)  One of my daughters even meticulously decorated me with hand-painted tattoos of sailing ships, and a Kraken guarding gold treasure.

My friend Kristen gave me a lovely lithograph of a weighty willow, its crescent of densely laden branches arching overhead to sweep the ground.

“Bowed, but not broken,” read the title, in gray-green cursive lettering.

May 22 149

Weeping Willow (c) SMG


Some people give the appearance of gliding through life.   Many have endured things which would break most bodies and souls, yet find the strength to come out into the light.

The news seems in relatively equal measure to feature politics and features about wealthy quasi-celebrities, angst-ridden and exhausted from the “pressure”; words (known back in the day as “column inches”) are expended describing their questionable sartorial choices, dalliances, substance abuse, and less-than-taxing yet unfulfilled probationary conditions.  Boo hoo.

I read a story like Ishmael Baeh’s “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” and can only marvel at the grace and strength some people are able to find on the other side unquantifiable loss.

We may require the break to identify what lies within.


About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
This entry was posted in Love and Loss and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Bowed But Not Broken

  1. Allan G. Smorra says:

    “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” —Rumi.

    As you have pointed out, Broken may not always be bad. Thanks for the reminder. Ω

  2. This is totally meant as a compliment, but it could be delivered from any pulpit on a Sunday morning because it contains several of life’s lessons. Wonderful post, and you have a great support system. And, I boo hoo almost every time I watch the news.

  3. themofman says:

    Quite the collection of experiences. These breaks make you a whole person.

  4. scillagrace says:

    We are that mosaic of broken bits creating a whole story, aren’t we?

  5. Marie Keates says:

    i guess life is a series of breaks from the moment the cord is cut. Some are small, some more difficult to bear but we do

  6. scillagrace says:

    I’ve invited you to a writing challenge. See my latest post for rules; always optional!

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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