How can you mend a broken heart?

“I can think of younger days when living my life
Was everything a man could want to do.
I could never see tomorrow; I was never told about the sorrow..”

So much of my life has been wasted on sorrow and heartache.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? Almost glamourous – as though I were in a movie, staring brokenly through a windowpane with rain dripping slowly down the outside, whilst indoors a tear slips gently down my cheek, leaving a trail of bright agony in soft focus [and fade out].

Real life is so rarely like the movies. I’m pretty sure there’s a sneaky Hollywood conspiracy to take the ‘how we imagine it should be’s of our lives, present them beautifully on screen, then charge us through the nose to see them. They’re onto a winner, that’s for sure.

It might not just be Hollywood, though. It could be every writer/filmmaker/musician/artist/poet/lyricist/photographer EVER, who has taken the innermost wish for every moment, every image, and every emotion, and crafted it into a reality. Not that we don’t like the real reality, but I think we do like glamour. We like sensationalisation. We like feeling freed of the mundane, for however long is possible, because…because…maybe if we can see life as special, we get less caught in the ‘is this it?!” feeling, which can sometimes pervade.

I digress.

My problem is sorrow. Specifically the processing of it, and how much time and energy it takes.

For life to work, I know I really need to live in the Now; find the best part of that Now and revel in it. I love how simple that sounds, and occasionally I can do it. It’s something I’ve been practicing – the ability to really live between the moments of life I most enjoy, when living is easy. I’m lucky, because I’ve had (and needed) help. I have wonderful friends-and-relations who have discovered the practicality of this approach, ase well as the freedom it brings, and they’ve been coaching me.

I have not always been a willing student. I do like a good wallow…though whether that’s the glamourous rainy-window-staring kind, or more of a sulky, sleep-mussed, needs-talking-through-every-step-of-the-day kind, will very much depend on how well you know me, and which version of my reality you’d prefer to believe.

It might be my deeply ingrained Englishness (projecting the emotional range of an iceberg, no matter what’s going on inside, because stiff upper lip, wot!), which makes me feel if my heart was allowed out, all of the repressed emotions would show themselves at once and I’d probably vapourise. So I spend time swallowing the lump in my throat, constricting my words (except in poetry, because there you can be truthful in a beautifully vague kind of way), and pretending I’m pretty much mostly okay with it.

Solve for ‘it’ <— my life, in a nutshell.

‘It’ could be Venn-diagrammed with myriad circles, and maybe there wouldn’t be enough room for them all. Love. Friendship. Connection. Love. Happiness. Thankfulness. Family. Love. Togetherness. Beauty. Love. Each of them present in wonderously large dollops of gloriousness. Each shining brightly, perfectly, sparkling with joy. Each would have their place, jostling with their neighbours to overlap the most possible variants, resulting in the biggest, beautifullest ‘it’ imaginable…

Space is the issue though, and if I overlaid my graph with that dark circle ‘Geography’, suddenly everything splinters, falls apart.

Like my heart.

Which brings me back to my carefully-staged windowpane and veneer of Englishness that has me tight-lipped, rictus grinning my way through goodbyes, whilst my tantrumming toddler-heart throws itself, tears streaming, bawling and utterly crushed, at the people I leave behind. No number of warm hugs, follow-up ‘miss you’ texts, or reminders that I’ll come back, I’ll come back, will erase the fingernail tracks in the ground, gouged as I drag my breaking heart away by the ankles towards the next Now.

I am at least wise enough now to know that love, however painful, is absolutely worth it. My problem with pain is simply that it hurts. The problem with hurt is that there’s not one simple thing about it. Hurt is complex, interwoven, enmeshed; fracturing my neat Venn diagram in myriad ways, skewing everything sideways, making it impossible to neaten. How can I solve for ‘it’, when a single factor can effect such catastrophic destruction?

I haven’t figured out any kind of answer. I need to speak to more people who’ve lived (and loved) across oceans. I need to learn from people whose hearts are in two, or three, or more places at the same time. I need to understand the work-arounds (if there are any), which could allow me to maintain relationships across ridiculous distances.

Hearts are tough things. I know it CAN be done. I’ve seen people do it, and I’m people, dammit! It’s possible…I just need to find a way.

Meantime, every time I leave, I leave a piece of my heart behind, weeping like the rain.

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39 thoughts on “How can you mend a broken heart?

  1. OH precious Lizzi, this is so achingly beautiful. I love reading your gorgeous words again, and soaking in your heart revealed through every last one. I feel this. I feel you. I know it is so terribly hard to leave- again.

    You have grown SO much over the years. Your strength and wisdom show here. It doesn’t make things less difficult, but I think your perspective gives you so much more fortitude to withstand the hurt and hope in knowing this will NOT sink you. You’ve learned how to swim in rough waters. And you will ALWAYS have buoys and lighthouses around you- always. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • My lifeboat friends.
      I kind of love that I’m not so hopelessly drowning the whole time now. I also love that I’ve come out of the sea holding onto the hands of people who’ve stuck by me, and who still let me into their lives.
      I’m HUGELY glad you’re one of them. Thank you for this reminder of how much things have changed. I need to see my visits as fuel to move forwards, I think.
      Love you Kitty ❤️❤️❤️

      Like

  2. If I could have one wish for you, it would be for you to really see how important you are to your friends, and how loved you are – even when communication wanes. You have to trust that each and every one of us thinks of you and loves you, and that we hold you in our hearts – even when it doesn’t feel like it.

    Because when you ARE with your friends, you feel that instant “it feels like I never left” connection. That’s because you never really DO leave. I know I am shit at staying in touch with people I love the most. Life gets so damn overwhelming, and I don’t make nearly enough time for beloved friends. Please don’t ever lose hope that you matter, that you are loved.

    Remember weeks like the ones you just had. THOSE are the truth of your relationships. I love you, and I hope we see each other on the next go around. xoxoxoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love this. I had never thought of it that way – the instant comfiness being a result of deep connection. Thank you.
      Having that, even after a year (as I’ve had this trip) makes me feel you must be right. I hope my friendships get the chance to become more filled with ‘In Real’ but I am always and forever grateful for how loved I am from a distance.
      My next trip is to SoCal for a friend’s wedding but I am definitely coming back to your corner of the world. Without doubt 💜💜💜💜💜💜

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was so happy seeing YOUR happiness in all those Instagram and FB posts while you were here…and I wish you could stay. I know those words don’t help, but they are all I have to offer, along with a little piece of my heart you can tuck in with all your other loves you’ve left on this side of the pond.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My Dana, I will never forget that you are the one who sparked the idea in the first place. SUCH a beautiful hope, and one I want to chase until it happens. It would be so wonderful. And you never know… I might get to take more pictures with you. I am definitely coming back to your corner of the world. Without doubt. Thank you so very much ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Her Headache and commented:
    Reading this, hearing this from someone else, from dear Lizzi, it is hard. It’s hard because I know how difficult it is for me to leave someone behind, whether through death or distance or some unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstance. Still, it’s important to share because it is what makes us human.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would be very surprised. I also don’t know if I think whether, if it stopped hurting that would mean I had stopped missing them…or resigned myself to it. The hurt reminds me how much I love them. In a way.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You leave pieces of your heart here but what I think you’ve failed to remember is that you take pieces of our hearts back with you. I know it’s very hard to remember that when what you want, what you REALLY want, is the physical presence of the person, and not just a vague “knowing” they’re “with you in spirit”. I’m struggling knowing Big Son is so far away from me. I freak out if he doesn’t respond to my texts or phone calls and 24 hours later I’m struggling to find the calm I need so I don’t call the police because I’m terrified he’s been murdered. After all, he is the physical manifestation of my heart living outside of my body. That’s how I am with people I care deeply about. So I get it. And I wish I could help you learn how to relinquish the feeling of loss that comes with goodbyes. You’d think after 45 years and many, many goodbyes I’d know how. But I don’t. What I do know is that constant contact is essential. Communication, so very necessary in normal every day relationships, is tripled in importance when one is literally oceans away. I do my best to make sure you know I am here and listening. So make sure you are talking when you need us. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Pinky. This actually really helps – I know one of my less helpful sadness traits is to isolate, which just makes things so much worse.
      I so feel for you in the situation with your Big Son and I hope he (and I) can take on board what a huge difference a relatively small amount of communication can make. I hope things improve so much there, lovely.
      I will try to hang onto all the pieces of their hearts people have given to me. Perhaps together we all make beautiful mosaic hearts all around the world 💝💝💝

      Liked by 1 person

      • We do make mosaics. We just don’t always see it. And I talked to him today and was able to find out his plans for the next few months and that he has a job (all he did was transfer from the restaurant he was working at to one in Ann Arbor, Michigan) and that he is well and loving where he’s at. I did let him know that he has to respond when I text or call so I don’t freak out because he is really bad about forgetting there are people who love and care for him that he needs to let know how he’s doing. And to be fair, I gave him a week and a half before texting anyway. LoL
        I’m glad if I’ve helped in any way. Yes, you do isolate yourself. In a way it’s almost self-punishment. I don’t mean that as in you’re being selfish or anything, just that I think you are trying to protect us from how miserable you are but that’s exactly what hurts us. You have to let us share your burden and help you instead of trying to deal with it yourself. I know because I do that myself. Anyway, maybe that’s one step that you need to learn in order to adjust? I don’t know. Just want to let you know you have plenty of ears here to listen any time. And you need to practice using Skype because I think that would help do wonders as well.

        Liked by 1 person

    • WordPress hid this…YOU were FRIST! (Or it may have to do with my inability to count…ever!!!)

      So many places and people are with me, and perhaps it’s a case of getting used to the missing.

      I love you too, and I am so glad we’re friends ❤❤🎊

      Like

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