(I don’t want to be sexist, but I don’t think I have any male followers, apologies if I do, and hey if you’re there, speak up!)
The other day I bought Cheryl Strayed’s new book. ‘Brave Enough’ for a friend and ordered a copy for myself.* It’s a small book that packs a mighty punch. It’s full of words of wisdom to comfort when you’re feeling down, to kick you up the arse when you need it and best of all to tell you that you’re not alone. YOU ARE NEVER ALONE. I can’t recommend highly enough. I’m hoping it brings some solace to a dear, dear, old friend who is having a rough time. She got her heart badly broken a few years ago and in August she lost her Mum, suddenly, and it’s smashed it to smithereens all over again.
The thing is; you can’t see a broken heart the way you can a broken limb. But boys-a-dear does it hurt. Anyone who’s been there (and who hasn’t?) can testify that a broken heart breaks you from the inside out. It usually comes with tears. Oceans of tears that make you feel wrung out. Many years ago I lay on my kitchen floor sobbing over my first real broken heart. It’s been broken again since that, this time by my husband, and that hurt more than anything that’s gone before. And no doubt it will happen again. Unfortunately in order to live we have to experience loss. What a tragic exchange? And yet how many of us, I wonder, would forgo the love in order to avoid the heartbreak? None, I bet. Because the memories of the love, the experience of loving and being loved is always better and stronger than any loss. Yes, we might do things differently, but I don’t think any of us would want to delete it. Would we? Because without the darkness we would never recognise the light.
To the rest of the world my friend looks normal: she goes to work, she smiles, she functions, but I know that if I shook her she would rattle with broken bits. And I hate that all I can do is stand on the sidelines and urge her to take it day by day, breath by breath, step by step. Our hearts heal, they may never be the same but they do heal and what’s left behind is an eternal afterglow from all the love. At least, that’s what I like to think.
*Waterstones have texted that my copy in in store. Be prepared for a liberal dose of Strayed quotes!