"I 've always believed that you shouldn't want to mend a broken heart, because that's someone you don't want to forget. Scars can be good." Joseph Fiennes
If all goes as planned, you are reading this before Valentine’s Day. The merchants have been letting us know about this day since (for me, at least) 2 days after Christmas. The day of love; the day for people who are “coupled up.”
I think that this is a particularly hard day for those surviving spouses. Yesterday, I “shared” a Gif on Facebook. It was of a little old man, who looked like Geppetto from Pinocchio. He was sewing a heart shaped object and was surrounded by “mended hearts” that were on the floor around him as well as in baskets. I thought to myself, “This is for survivors.” Our hearts were broken. Eventually, they mended. They will never be the same again.
An x-ray of a leg can show a break that may have occurred 50 years ago. Maybe that break is felt occasionally by a twinge brought on from weather or maybe we turn it in some way that reminds us that it occurred. So it is with our hearts.
We who survive the death by suicide of a loved one, had our hearts broken. We live in a world of “before” and “after.” We long for them. We yearn for them. We never forget them. Our hearts never forget them either. The “scar tissue” over our heart reminds us of a vast loss. Someone we loved died by their own hand. Our heart breaks. If you think, as I do, that the amount of love is equal to the break, then it must come as no surprise that we are unable to breathe when this occurs. We are trying to comprehend the incomprehensible, the unthinkable. Our body takes a hit.
Gradually, down-the-road, we heal. We never forget . We never will. Our scars become part of who we are. One of my favorite vocal groups, The BeeGees asked it best:
I can think of younger days when living for my life Was everything a man could want to do. I could never see tomorrow, but I was never told about the sorrow. And how can you mend a broken heart? How can you stop the rain from falling down? How can you stop the sun from shining? What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man? How can a loser ever win? Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again. I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees And misty memories of days gone by We could never see tomorrow, no one said a word about the sorrow.
NOTHING prepared us for a bomb to be dropped into the middle of our lives. For many, even the very word “suicide” made our stomach’s turn. We’d wonder who could ever do such un unthinkable thing? We absolutely knew for certain that suicides happened to other people, other families. And then “it” came for us…
We did not choose this path. It was dropped into our laps. What we had to do was to choose how to live with “it” and how to live without “them.” Through our own personal journeys, we pay-it-forward by reaching back to those fresher in their grief.
Did you even stop to think that a new survivor, just by knowing we survived it and that we are walking, talking, and…yes…even laughing, is given hope? So, in this month filled with hearts and love, remember that you were and are loved. Mom didn’t not love me; her love for me had nothing to do with her final act. As someone said to me today, “They just were tired of being tired.” Let’s use this month as best we can to care for ourselves. Love yourself.
Remember them. Honor the scar… I love you….