When does the healing begin? I find myself wondering how long I’ll be broken, how long things will ache. We’re all broken, you’re thinking…which is true, absolutely. And now here I am feeling the need to qualify it. To explain away my own sadness, as though I’m trying to make sure it doesn’t sound too self-important. Too wallowy. But it’s a deep pain tonight; the kind that feels like it’s wound tightly in my chest, so much so that it won’t even allow the tears to come. And it is built on so much loss, compounded again and again, like the surf crashing over and over on the sand.
I have lost so much, all at once. This has been a year of change, sadness, transformation, and loss. And I know, way down at my core, that with all of those things comes growth and strength where there was once instability. But with so much change also comes a sense of wandering…and at times, I feel as though I’m wandering aimlessly through my life, and have lost my purpose.
The loss of my grandfathers last Fall was the beginning of the end. That’s as far back as I can trace all of this. Two grandfathers in one day. Unbelievable in weight and comprehension. And there are moments, many of them, that catch me off guard and cause me to suddenly tear up, missing them from someplace deep in my heart, feeling the hole of the loss they both left behind. There are times when I hope with all of my heart that they can somehow see me, and be proud of me and what I’m doing. There are times when I pray for their guidance and strength, to lead me into the right decisions.
Shortly after their deaths, my marriage deteriorated. The two weren’t related, but I realized I was unhappy, disenchanted, and disoriented. There seemed to be nothing left to save. Nothing left to build on. Nothing but a hole that was growing in my chest, filling with emptiness like black, icy water. And the marriage is over now. I am alone in my house, alone with my thoughts, alone with a heart that beats but isn’t sure how to love.
If that wasn’t enough, I lost a friend and partner in business. She betrayed, deceived, and manipulated. Lied. Meddled. She behaved in ways I am ashamed of for her, and she completely broke my trust in her, and made me question the friendships and relationships I thought I had been able to count on for years. And our relationship came to a sudden, painful end, which I clearly see now is for the better, but broke me just a little bit more as I was going through the fever pitch of it.
Why is it that sad, difficult, painful events always happen in multiples? That people leave our lives in big, sudden waves. It wasn’t just the one friend I lost, but another dear friend as well, someone I always thought I could count on. Someone I had supported, loved, trusted, and cheered on for the past three years. But she has been dealing with her own pain for longer than I have known her, and her own agony is sometimes too much for even her to bear. And as a result, she isn’t able to give enough of herself to build a truly meaningful friendship or relationship, and hasn’t been able to love herself enough to find the support she needs to become truly whole again. It’s like the old cliche, “You can’t truly love another person until you are happy with yourself.” And I will sadly, deeply and forever miss her, but I can’t change the inevitable. I am only capable of carrying so much.
As people began to fall off the vine, I often asked myself if there was something I could be doing differently. Was I the catalyst for all of this change and loss? Or was it bigger than myself, something out of my control that was destined to happen to me whether I wanted it to or not? I believe deep down in my core that things happen to teach us something about our lives. And the worst of times occur to show us that we can get through it, albeit painfully, but with our hearts beating, somewhat in tact, and better equipped to handle the rough roads in the future.