Right now, in these moments as I write this, I am reeling from shock and the incomprehensible loss of my beloved ending our relationship.
It has only been a few hours, so this pain is fresh and sharp, but I wanted to write to reach out. Because when your heart is breaking it feels like a split of unbearable magnitude. Like the threads of the fabric of your life are unravelling. It feels as if the absence of your most treasured person, your sweetest confidant, is going to create such a gaping hole that the emptiness and loneliness will devour you. And part of you longs to be eaten, to be gobbled into oblivion because the pain is too loud, too shouty, too enormous to bear.
In the fractured moments where I try and assimilate what has happened, my mind searches for something to hold on to. I think about celebrities. They are just like you and me. Their hearts just as big and just as breakable. But you hear about celebrity splits and you hear about their new loves a little while later, and it all seems so manageable. This person had children with this person, oh no, they split up, how sad and awful, ooh look how happy they are with their new partner! Because you weren’t there to see how much it hurt and how hard it was to reassemble their lives, it seems almost like breaking up and finding new love is just a part of life.
Until it’s you. Until your life has been ravaged by loss. Until it’s you that can’t shut your eyes because it’s too dark and full and howling in there. Until it's you whose waking life feels like being pulled apart, like being stretched until every limb and sinew is at breaking point.
We are each whole, no one is actually your other half. But they are your daily bread, your sustenance. Imagining life without them feels like all the nourishment in the world is turning to dust.
If you are in the jaws of heartbreak right now, I want you to remember that I am feeling this too, millions of people in this world right now are feeling this. We feel alone. We feel totally bereft. But we are not alone, we have each other, we have the reality of being human and the unknowable nature of life. We know that everything changes and that change can be good and bad. Now feels very bad. But there will definitely be good again. And it may even be better than we ever knew was possible.
I want to talk to you from this place. This shared place. Because heartbreak is like birth; people remember it hurts, but unless you’re in it, you can’t fully recall its intensity. The stark fear that grief will overwhelm you until you are nothing but loss. But we are not one fixed thing. Loss is part of what we feel right now. But it is not the only feeling we will ever feel...
I have just rediscovered this piece of writing on my phone. I had stopped writing that last paragraph because I broke down. Because knowing it would get better didn’t make a shred of fucking difference to how hard it was in that moment. I stayed awake all night saturated in shock and anguish. Shivering in the cold arms of despair.
I went to work the next day, my second day of a brand new job, having not slept for a single moment. I got through it. Somehow I got through it.
It’s been 163 days since I first wrote this. It’s been 163 days of hardship and healing. It’s been 163 days of rawness and resilience. And during the last 23 weeks, I’ve had some of the happiest moments of my life. Where I’ve fallen madly in love with my own company, with my own rhythm, with my own sense of being. And I’ve been lonely. And I still miss him. The past few days it’s felt like my body’s been calling out to him like a long lost friend. Like a ship’s horn in the night hoping to hear a return call. But I don’t tell him I miss him. I don’t invite a return call. I accept that we are each where we are meant to be. And it’s okay to miss him. I loved him. I love him. I will always love him. And I miss parts of him so fiercely and fondly. But I am also thriving without him. I have fallen in love with meeting my own needs and knowing that I don’t have to feel let down or hurt anymore. And that’s a wonderful relief. There have been so many new discoveries and there will be many more.
But if you’re in the sharp teeth of it and it's piercing your tender skin. Just know. Just know. Just know. It will change. You will feel many things in the coming days. Some of it will feel unacceptable. Untenable pain. But you are more resilient than you know. Your heart is not broken. Your heart is open. Your heart is open. Your heart is open.
And from this place, love will bloom again. Because an open heart is a fertile heart. And you can close it as much as you need to while you heal. You can tuck yourself safely away while you recover. But at some point, remember that your heart is not broken. It’s open. And you can fall in love with your own strength and the grace you discover as you move through each moment of sorrow. And each moment leads you into a deeper, richer, ever evolving relationship with yourself.