I’m learning that heart brokenness is something you experience in phases. There’s the initial phase where you feel pain that is, as best as I can describe it, like the pain you feel when you hold something cold for too long. It burns and is cold and throbbing at the same time and it’s everywhere. In that state you can’t really reason, you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, and you don’t want to try to work out where exactly things hurt or why. It’s washing all over you and the best thing you can do for yourself in that moment is just to let it.

One of the things that caused me to fall in love with Deborah Harkness’ Discovery of Witches was a single part where the heroine, a witch, experiences such a deep feeling of grief that she produces what the author calls “witch water”. The rise of such powerful emotions causes water to seep and the pour from the witches body. What begin as tears soon turn into giant drops and then there is water seeping from her finger tips and toes.

That’s it exactly.

That’s how it feels… except I don’t get the physical reality of water pouring from my body and flooding my surroundings. There’s a little part of me that wishes I did. Ok, more than a little part of me. It just seems like it would feel gratifying to have that side effect so that people could actually see the depth of what you were feeling.

Anyway, the next phase I’ve come to understand is the one in which most days are fine. Most of the time I feel ok. Not limping, not holding my heart up on crutches, I’m going on with my life. The trouble with this phase is that when the hurt bubbles up, it comes on fast and unexpectedly. There are no warning signs, it’s just smacking me in the face and sending me reeling backwards before I have a chance to know what hit me.  It happens most when I’m alone and things are quiet. And that’s the worst part because I have always treasured time to be alone and to have things quiet. But now I find myself trying to be alone as little as possible and looking for reasons to be busy, to the point of exhausting myself.

It’s not fair. Nothing is ever fair. There is no fair.

People get relationship after relationship, marriage after marriage, chance after chance. And here I am.  I spend years invest, years trying to understand, years of trying to be what I think is right for that moment and in the end I’m still by myself. And there are times when it’s ok because I know a lot of those people who have gotten all those chances would rather not have to have been through much, and I can count myself blessed. I can understand that comparing myself to others doesn’t make any sense. That my story, my life, is different and I shouldn’t want someone else’s, but right now is not one of those times.

The good news is that these times don’t last very long, and in the middle of it all I have people around me who care,  I have things to write about, even if sometimes they almost feel like they are digging the knife in a little deeper. I have the fact that I am nothing if not determined and I know myself well enough to know that I can muscle through almost anything. I have young people to set example for,  children to make me laugh and to give me hugs, and babies to watch smile in their sleep.

So tomorrow starts a busy week and when I say busy, I mean VERY busy week. I have work, conference, bachelorette party and lock-in to be present for. I don’t know at this point when in there I will find time to eat and sleep, but we can all hope those things get done and when they are supposed to.