Learning to Live with a Broken Heart
I remember my first loves. The boys I fell hard for that broke my heart with their rejection, indifference, or immaturity. I remember the tears and hurt. The feeling that if only one of these boys would love me, that I would feel better.
Of course, looking back now, I realize that my heart was not breaking, and that a boy loving me would not make me feel better. I was just learning the difference between attraction and love and how to separate others loving me from loving myself.
A lot of love has come and gone from my life since then. And I have experienced a lot of heartache. But it was not until my mother and children cut me out of their lives that I understood I had never really suffered before. Now that my heart IS broken, I know the difference between temporary hurt and permanent damage.
The difference is that now that my heart is broken, every day I feel like I am dying a little bit from the inside out. No one else can see the damage. It is invisible on the surface. I decided to carry on and live the best life I can without them. I work hard to find joy every day, seek pleasure in the small things, and be grateful for my blessings. I continue to pursue goals and dreams. And I continue to take care of my health and well-being as best I can.
“Who thought empty could be heavy?”
Despite this, I can feel how my broken heart is killing me. I cannot remember the last time I felt “well.” I always either have body pain, a headache, an upset stomach, or am on the verge of anxious tears. My days are spent talking myself into feeling better or talking myself out of feeling bad. A part of my broken heart has taken up residence in my throat. There is always a weight there. I must swallow it away before I can speak, or eat, or sometimes to breath. Another part of my broken hearts sits low in the pit of my stomach making me feel nauseous. And the hole in my chest where my whole heart used to be, is also heavy. A weight that never leaves. Who thought empty could be heavy? A constant reminder that my world is shattered, and I have no power to put it back together.
Sometimes, I can go hours without thinking about my daughters, mother, or grandchildren, but never a whole day. There is always something to remind me of what I have lost—a song on the radio, a social media memory, a photograph I stumble upon. And every reminder is another gut punch.
I wonder often why this has happened. I did not have an easy childhood. I have overcome a lot. Do I not ever deserve a break? They say people treat you the way you treat them. But that has not been my experience, particularly with family. I am kind to others. I help others when I can. I accept people for who they are and have never asked or expected anyone to change for me. I am not vindictive or angry. I take responsibility for my actions. And I admit when I am wrong and apologize when appropriate. And yet, here I am. The rejected one.
More than anything I would like someone to explain to me how these people who are hurting me so badly explain their behaviour to others. And why they have all taken everything to such an extreme? Everyone has blocked my phone numbers and blocked me on social media. Then, first my middle daughter, then my youngest daughter, and then my mother moved without telling me they were doing so or informing me where they now live. I know the cities they live in, but not their addresses. I know my mother is living with my middle daughter. And that is it.
Apparently, I am such a monster in their eyes they felt it necessary to make sure I do not even know where they are. Since this all started, I have not harassed them. Although they (especially my mother) will claim differently. My greatest fears from the get-go were two things: the first is that if I just let them walk away without fighting, without letting them know how much I love them, and how I was willing to do anything to repair our relationship, they would go through life believing I did not love them. What mother would not fight for her children? Would it really make them feel better if I just shrugged my shoulders, and said, “okay, fine, walk away, I don’t care”? I don’t think so. And the second thing was I never wanted the separation and silence to feel normal. If too long went without some form of communication, then not hearing from me would become normal. So, in the beginning I tried to reach out to all of them in various ways… ending every communication the same way, “my door, my arms, and my heart are always open to you.” But they ignored every gesture, relabeled them as negative, and eventually went to extremes so I could not even do that anymore.
My middle daughter has had two pregnancies and two miscarriages since she stopped speaking to me. I did not know about either pregnancy. I found out about both miscarriages in the most shocking, upsetting ways. The first time my brother blurted out, “well you know she [my daughter] had a miscarriage, right?” I almost fell of my chair. As I informed him, I did not even know she was pregnant, let alone had miscarried. I learned of her second miscarriage because a neighbour posted her condolences on my daughter’s Facebook feed and my husband saw it.
I cannot tell you what learning of this has done to me. The large pieces of my broken heart shattered into many smaller ones. The hurt of not being told she was pregnant. The hurt of not being told she miscarried. The hurt of not being able to hold and support my daughter through such traumatic experiences. The hurt of losing unborn grandchildren. The reminder and hurt that she is not letting me see my grandson. Each hurt a shard of glass in my already broken heart.
I have been trying to reach my youngest daughter for several weeks now. I discovered the government deposited some money into her old dormant bank account that is linked to my old bank account. I have emailed her and texted her. And her father has texted her. I finally got desperate and reached out to our neighbour (my daughter’s friend since birth) to ask if she could reach out. As of writing I still have not heard from our daughter and although her friend said she would reach out, I do not know if she made contact. I am worried sick. But I do not know what else to do. And part of the message they all seem to be sending me is that I have no right to worry about them anymore.
But I do worry. I am a mother and daughter. Just because they are labeling as me as something, does not make me that thing. I have always been here for all of them. And they knew/know it. They all turned to me countless times for help and support. And I never took it away, nor threatened to take it away. They have rejected it. And for the life of me I cannot understand why.
So, this is what learning to live with a broken heart it is like. Accepting a constant cycle of trying to ignore and live with the weight that makes me feel physically ill, while pushing aside nagging worry because I don’t know where they are and how they are doing, while simultaneously asking why and beating myself up for failing so badly. It is a dumpster of putrid emotions.
Some days, in a very literal sense, I feel like they are killing me from the inside out. But I will not let them. As I recently said to a friend, I have overcome so much, what would be the point of quitting now? And truth be told, except for what they are doing to me, my life is better than it ever has been. All I can do is hope that the positivity of this better life eventually brings levity to the weight within me and begins to eat away at the rot they have left behind. Right now, however, its anyone’s guess whether I will ever be able to heal my broken heart.