Heart ache is an extraordinary thing. There’s the clinical diagnosis when a heart is sick and then there’s the other kind that comes when a heart breaks. When little, I was told no one dies of a broken heart. After six decades, although life has shattered mine into thousands of pieces more than once, because I remain very much alive can testify to the truth of the adage.
The pain caused by a heart as it breaks is excruciating, not easily numbed, and resistant to pain killers of all sorts. The most effective medicine is time and tender loving care. It’s important to note, however, that scars left behind weaken the muscle leaving it quite vulnerable. And, like an elephant, the heart never forgets, so the experience that caused the break is etched forever in body and mind. Neither the strongest drug nor endless time will erase it.
The odd thing, though, is that no matter how battered, bruised, and torn up a heart is, it usually continues to beat. Its resilient tenacity to keep on keeping on is nothing short of miraculous. And despite one’s desire to make the heart stop beating in order to ease the pain, it will not do so. The heart seems to have a mind of its own. Perhaps that is a good thing.
Can you recall your first heart break? Was it the boy in school who spurned you, or the girl who laughed at your bad hair? Was it something much worse like a death? No matter the incident, each time you are reminded of it, can you feel a familiar twinge in your chest? I can.
Today passes as a reminder that my heart still beats despite its being shattered countless times. Fragments of the blood coursing through my body are ancient while other bits new. My being holds within it an energetic link to the near and far reaches of this universe and my emotional body can hold all the pain and sorrow I’ve experienced throughout lifetimes. A mystery of sorts, I suppose.
Doctors have recently restated their position on death by broken heart saying they believe the experience can, in fact, kill us. For those living with what for them is unmitigated grief, death would likely bring relief. As for me, I openly admit to wanting to die on several occasions. I persevered, however, and learned many lesson over time. Those lessons continue to serve me well. To some, the lessons of diligence, determination, and simply waking up in the morning might be cliché, but profound truths are often viewed as trite because few have the courage to be taught, let alone absorb fully the teaching.
I have not yet fully absorbed all the teachings laid out for me but I am still breathing so there is hope.
Today as I write about broken hearts I know there are some of you suffering that fate. I have a wish for you which is to be grateful. Yes, be grateful for the well of sadness you feel swallowed by. Be grateful for a feeling of unfathomable emptiness. Be grateful for the life, or lives taken from you causing your heart to break. Breathe in and with each gasping breath feel gratitude because you are able to feel immeasurable pain. When it finally subsides – and it will – you will have room for the opposite of what you’re feeling now – more joy, more love, and more compassion. We are all able to feel the depths and the heights. Always remember that and be grateful for it all.