How Broken Hearts Heal
16 May 2014
During the Great Depression, my dad had Scarlet Fever. It took almost a quarter of his heart. Then, in 1977, he had a massive heart attack. Until 1989, when he died, he lived with half a heart.
Hearts break when we lose someone – human or fur-iend.
It doesn’t matter how we lose them. Some die. Some simply choose to not be a part of your life anymore. Or, sometimes, we leave people.
On March 26th, Chris sat next to the steering wheel in my Honda Element with tears in his eyes. He told me he’d had the BEST night ever with the kids and me and “you are the most special person in my life.” On Friday, March 28th, without ceremony, he dumped most of the things I had at his house in my garage.
For six months, he said, “Don’t forget me.” He gave me a ring. He put a photo of himself next to my bed. He told me to look for jobs in Salt Lake City. He told his friends there would be a wedding. We met with the priest. He said, “we’ll move your furniture into the living room, your TV downstairs. . .” He built a fence around his backyard and gave my dogs Greek names.
The relationship went from zero to 100, stopped and did a u-turn.
Rather than sitting me down and saying, “Let’s slow down. We don’t have to pace our relationship around the school year,” he broke my heart.
My heart was broken because I didn’t understand. The signals were mixed.
I missed Chris. The dogs didn’t.
My heart was broken. The dogs were fine.
With good friends, a therapist, and a clairvoyant, I now understand that his vicious cruelty and mean-spirited manipulation will be the catalyst for healing.
But, my heart hurt. Ached.
It was broken.
I believe, however, that hearts heal.
Hearts put themselves back together. They stop hurting.
But, when they mend, they’re not quite perfect. They’re better because they are bigger.
When a heart hurts so much that it breaks, it goes back together, but, like a puzzle, there are cracks.
Hearts can love more after being broken because the love fills in the cracks.
Unlike people, dogs don’t see finality. Their hearts do not break with loss. Dogs understand the continuum. They relax, release, and deal with what’s in front of them.