I thought I would never get over it.
This was the one person I thought I could never live without.
He was the match I had dreamed of, the one that completed my life.
Instead of just being my partner, he was my world.
The above statements I wholeheartedly believed for the first several years after this relationship ended, until I realized that everything in life will eventually change.
I came to know that without him I was still able to breathe.
I was completely shattered when he left—pieces of me were scattered so far, I suspected I would never find them again. Certainly I believed I would never have love like that again—the kind that caused butterflies and midnight giggles and kept my heart continually pining for more.
For months, I let the bits of my broken heart spread out over my living room floor and splattered over the surface of every place I visited.
Heartache seeped out of my every pore.
It became the throb and empty loneliness that carved out my belly, made me listless, root-less and searching for the anchor that had somehow come undone.
In the beginning, I had no idea what my prescription from this grief would be, so I tried many different things.
Eventually I knew no one could save me from this hurt—no drink was strong enough, no meditation so powerful and no work distracting enough to make it go away. As I chose to get up every morning, with an empty bed, an empty heart and two empty hands, I noticed something…
Life was still happening—and I suspected that I needed to be too.
Although I do believe some people die from a broken heart, apparently that was not the way my body was going to go.
I felt like I had died emotionally and spiritually, but these are the ways that we are supposed to die in love.
I just hadn’t realized that yet.
Losing true love is the kind of pain that changes us forever. As I look back, I realize there were five things that were needed to heal my broken heart:
It is not so much that time makes the hurt go away; it is just that we find more and more things to occupy that empty space. I didn’t believe it then, but one day my life would be full, in different ways then it was before—this is how we reinvent ourselves, one slow rebirth at a time.
I had to stay away from this person to heal. Although it felt like the hardest physical pain to not see him, distance was required—years of it.
I had to be gentle with myself and allow for the shitty, mud-eating days. I learned that there were things that I wouldn’t be ready to do alone (the first 20 times I tried to go out I cried). Relationship deaths are hard. I had to feel that.
4) Lean on other love.
If this love was gone, I needed to lean on something else that was cushy and soft. I tried to do it solo but found friends, family and animals understood this shattering all too well and reaching out made it easier to bare.
5) Claim it.
I had to claim the pain, celebrate it and not shy away from the burning and searing force of it. As I faced it, it did not completely destroy me. Rather, fully feeling it acted to purify my soul of the old attachments so that I could move on.
I did get over this heartbreak, although there is a tinge of that pain that sneaks out from the upper cupboard in the tallest shelf of my heart, about once a year. It says, “hey, you know true love.”
It just wants to remind me that I have been there and I can be there again.
My life is different then it was when I was with him. I am changed too. The partner I have chosen now is the opposite from my previous one. Our relationship is a celebration of something new, rather then a repeat of something old.
I am happy and I am in love. I understand now that the power we hold to move on is a manifestation of our availability to feel, let go and our willingness to begin again.
So hold the pieces of your broken heart tenderly, patiently and openly. We don’t need to hide our story about how we have been to that place where everything in us breaks.
Instead, I look down at my heart and I trace the stitch-lines where I have sewn it back together. As I do so, my fingers understand how this old wound is part of my new strength—it is how I have learned to trust that love and life will continue on.
This makes me proud.
Author: Sarah Norrad
Editor: Renée Picard