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Life Is A Bag Of Frozen Peas

Story ID:2257
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family Memories
Writers Conference:$500 2007 Family Memories Writing Project
Location:Fort Lee New Jersey USA
Year:2003
Person:My First Wife, Georgia
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Those who read the series called, "The Beginning of the End" will get this one. Anyone who has lost a love will also understand.

I wrote this story soon after my first wife died.
It was one of those grief moments that sneak up
on those left behind.

Life is a Bag of Frozen Peas


A few weeks after my first wife, Georgia, was called to
heaven, I was cooking dinner for my son and myself. For a
vegetable, I decided on frozen peas. As I was cutting open
the bag, it slipped from my hands and crashed to the floor.
The peas, like marbles, rolled everywhere. I tried to use a
broom, but with each swipe the peas rolled across the kitchen,
bounced off the wall on the other side and rolled in another
direction.

My mental state at the time was fragile. Losing a spouse
is an unbearable pain. I got on my hands and knees and pulled
them into a pile to dispose of. I was half laughing and half
crying as I collected them. I could see the humor in what
happened, but it doesn't take much for a person dealing with
grief to break down.

For the next week, every time I was in the kitchen, I
would find a pea that had escaped my first cleanup. In a corner,
behind a table leg, in the frays at the end of a mat, or
hidden under a heater, they kept turning up. Eight months
later I pulled out the refrigerator to clean, and found a
dozen or so petrified peas hidden underneath.

At the time I found those few remaining peas, I was in
a new relationship with a wonderful woman I met in a
widow/widower support group. After we married, I was reminded
of those peas under the refrigerator. I realized my life
had been like that bag of frozen peas. It had shattered. My
wife was gone. I was in a new city with a busy job and a
son having trouble adjusting to his new surroundings and
the loss of his mother. I was a wreck. I was a bag of spilled,
frozen peas. My life had come apart and scattered.

When life gets you down; when everything you know comes
apart; when you think you can never get through the tough
times, remember, it is just a bag of scattered, frozen peas.
The peas can be collected and life will move on. You will
find all the peas. First the easy peas come together in a
pile. You pick them up and start to move on. Later you will
find the bigger and harder to find peas. When you pull all
the peas together, life will be whole again.

The life you know can be scattered at any time. You
will move on, but how fast you collect your peas depends
on you. Will you keep scattering them around with a broom,
or will you pick them up one-by-one and put your life back
together?

How will you collect your peas?


Michael Smith