In July, a friend of mine went through a mind-numbing breakup. The kind of breakup that should have happened ages before it did, but still made her feel like she was cracking from the inside out because of too much weight. I bought her a journal and wrote her a message on the first few pages. In searching through my archives for inspiration to finish this challenge, I found a picture I took of the letter and decided to build on it a little more. This is for anyone dealing with some kind of loss or grief. My heart goes out to you. You are not alone.
Dear Heartbroken Friend,
Once you are old enough to discern that St. Nicholas doesn’t fly from the North Pole to hand deliver your Christmas presents and that your older sister is probably the one devouring the cookies and milk you put out on Christmas Eve, you start to realize that you’ve been lied to a lot. The cliches you’ve been inundated with start to fall apart. Like:
- You’re probably not going to get big and strong from drinking your milk. You’ll get tall if you have the genetic predisposition but you’ll also probably develop some kind of dairy sensitivity. The truth is sixty-five percent of the global population has a reduced ability to digest lactose.
- Your face will not freeze in any particular position no matter what your parents say or how long you hold your face in said position. You might get some extra wrinkles somewhere down the timeline of life, but :: shrugs shoulders :: so what?
- And that noisy toy that you loved; it never really broke. Noisy toys are typically indestructible. Your parents probably just tossed it in the garbage in place of throwing you in there. Be grateful for that lie. It saved you.
Some peoples told you lies without realizing they were lying. They committed perjury with the best of intentions and meant every word at the time. Like “I will never break your heart” or “I’ll never let anyone else break your heart.”
Heartbreak is inevitable and you know that now. I wish knowing the truth would make it more bearable, but we both know that it doesn’t.
The only words of encouragement I can offer you are to allow yourself to feel everything that comes with this. It is a part of the process.
Elizabeth Kugler-Ross identified the five stages of grief and you, friend, are going to pass through each stage as you mourn the loss of a partner, a love and potentially your vision for the future. I can’t tell you with any certainty in what order you will experience them. Grief is not a one-size-fits-all kind of cap.
- Denial and Isolation – because no one understands. because this is just a break, not a break-up.
- Anger – because they are bastards and they never deserved you. because you hope they will find rocks in their shoes every day for the rest of their lives and that they always lose one sock out of every pair they own.
- Bargaining – because maybe if you weren’t so critical or tried to be a little more understanding it could work. because maybe you don’t really need peace of mind or spirit …
- Depression – because there is no language to make the loss any less agonizing. because you feel like you want to die so that maybe then the excruciating pain in your chest will stop.
- Acceptance – because this is real and this is life and you have to continue to be the unique, exceptional person you are with or without him/her/them.
Please remember that you have a right to feel all of these things. Don’t let anyone rush you or shame you. And keep in mind that you have many people in your life that will love and support you throughout the process. Including me.
***This is essay 39 in the #52essays2017 challenge created by Vanessa Mártir.