I have a healthy heart; it beats it pumps it has yet to let me down. I know that I am fortunate because of this. But then my heart broke. And it stopped beating its traditional tattoo; it grew wings, the tips flapping hard, trying to burst through the cavity of my chest.
I thought I knew what heartbreak felt like because my heart has been crushed on a few significant occasions. This heartbreak is different. This time, my heart is bleeding. Red rivulets pour. And I weep.
I know why this is happening. Intellectually and naturally the outcome is the same for everyone, but the experience of grief is indescribable, encompassing vast fields of possibilities, twists of fate that natural or not is in their way a tragedy. My relationship with grief has been active for the past two years, present since the late 90’s. It is aggressive now.
This amped version of grief is not what I had anticipated. Even thought I had previous experiences with grief that followed the heartbreak of parenthood, relationships, the death of family members, this time I felt like I had been shocked. A bolt of lightning, then deadening of my body. My heart burst into shards – thoroughly and profoundly. What was only white noise before in my mind turned into a stampede lead by an orchestra. It is not the same tune that I am used to with grief. There is no rhythm, just reverberating bone-rattling beats.
I know that this new level of commitment with grief will morph again. Higher, louder, piercing. My tears will be rivers. I have already cried a few. Maybe, in the end, my own battered heart will have a steady but fragile, a sad melody kind of refrain.
To be balanced in a situation like this is not possible because there is still time. An unknown amount. I guess that is the truth for all of us anyway.
I do choose to be present. As present as physically possible. It helps I think; it soothes heartbreak by lavishing new memories of laughter, giggling about the past, snarking on about the future. Good stuff, the ugly stuff it’s all there. Most importantly we are present with each other. Our selves unshrouded. Finally. Appearances and social graces other than proper social decorum when need be do not matter anymore.
Experiencing simple things is our plan. It is a generous act of love. It akes commitment. You have to listen. Put your electronics down, and sit. Watch. Absorb everything about the moment. Butterflies, billowy clouds, breeze through the oaks, the heat from the flames. Wild sounds, the smallest bug, sleeping patterns, noises in the night, laughter. The little things, keep our hearts beating.
Maybe those little things will help navigate this storm of sadness. I know in my heart that memories will be the priceless antidote for the broken hearted for many years to come. Above all else, the developed skill of being fully present day to day has helped remarkably, another antidote for years to come. And so it goes, life.
“Nobody told me there’d be days like these” -John Lennon & Yoko Ono