There are times when all the inspirational quotes in the world, all the positive self-talk, all the telling yourself that you should be over this, that you’re moving on, that you’re stronger and better than you were, all the kind supportive comments of friends, family and counsellors just don’t cut it. Something triggers you and the tears and pain and grief cuts right into your soul leaving you as raw and in such emotional agony as those early days.
There’s nothing – nothing – anyone else can do to help or console you. You know you’re just going to have to go down that dark path by yourself and know you’ll come out the other end into the light.
And when you do emerge into the light, it’ll be bitter-sweet, because you know that somewhere down the line – maybe not for weeks, months or even years – that darkness is waiting for you up ahead, hiding out of sight, waiting to pounce again when you’re feeling vulnerable.
For me, it was a combination of things. I had packed away all the pictures that include my ex-husband – or at least I thought I had. But last night I came upon a family photo taken of us all a couple of years before he left me. We look happy. Solid. I’m looking at the camera with total innocence, his arm around me, no idea that my marriage and family are about to implode.
Was he planning his departure even then? Is that photo a lie?
And if it’s not a lie, if we were happy, if we were solid, if he did love me, how could he have stopped loving me so suddenly?
That’s almost worse to deal with.
That started the descent. I’m also jet-lagged, recovering from a bad cold and dealing with a chronic low grade pain in my hip which is currently being investigated, so finding that photo when I was tired and run-down led to the perfect storm.
I cried for about a solid hour – probably the first time I’ve cried that much for over a year – and I know that, sitting here writing this right now, it wouldn’t take much to start me off again.
I know it’s going to be better. I know my life already is better. I just have to look at the jar of dimes I started at the beginning of the year – two jars, one for bad days, the other for good days. I add a dime to one of them every evening. There are only 3 dimes currently in the ‘bad day’ jar. Three out of seventy-two – that’s pretty damn good.
But when you’re in that pain, it doesn’t help.
But… I’m holding on. I know I’ll get through. I know I’ll come out the other end.
But I’m not the same as I was and I have to accept that. That happy innocent woman smiling at the camera has gone forever.
On the outside I might appear like I’m moving on, that I have my life in order – and I am. Trust me, I am. But inside I know that my heart is broken. It will heal – it is healing – but someone who has had a heart attack is left with a permanent scar on his heart muscle.
It’s the same, I believe, if your heart has been broken emotionally. That scar will always be there. Most days you’ll be fine, but once and a while you’ll get a reminder of the damage.
And then it will pass again.
Hang in there.