By and By (For Uncle Brad)

“…and it left a dreadful sort of goneness…”

-Anne of Green Gables

I finally accomplished something by doing absolutely nothing: I managed to live an almost quarter century without having to experience the inevitable, the utmost breaking of one’s heart- the tragic circumstance of death. I, of course, in my almost twenty five years have experienced what seemed like the actual breakage of my most tender organ. When your heart breaks from unrequited love, or from the “growing pains” of life, of after all your chocolate souffle cake is gone, though it seems the hurt will never subside, it eventually does, and you heal, and your whole again. That sort of pain is real, and it does bruise. It may even leave you a little scarred. I’ve experienced those kind of ache-ings enough to know just how real they are. Still, as frail as it leaves you and indomitable as your tearducts may seem to be, nothing, NOTHING, can prepare you for the kind of anguish you feel when your heart really has lost a piece of what makes it beat.

When someone you love actually leaves you, not because they choose to, but because life chooses for them, that kind of heartache is Anguish in it’s most tangible form. Even with consolations of that personified heartstring being “in a better place”, it doesn’t alleviate the “dreadful sort of gone-ness” that you feel, as you are still here, but without them. Once you experience this sort of loss, it doesn’t make the “next one” any less formidable. On the contrary, it almost makes that fear more penetrating, because not only do you not know when it will happen again, you know exactly how painful it will be when it does, and that is terrifying.
So, how does one thwart the inevitable epidemic of broken-heartedness? If you are like me, and suffer from CBHS (chronic broken-heart syndrome… I have a lot of feelings, man) the remedies vary. For those injuries instigated by the gruesomeness of love unrequited, the cure for me has always been springboarding (and then usually bellyflopping) into the next love affair (thus perpetuating the disease, but whatev- it only has to work once, right?). For the cardiopulmonary weakenings brought about by “until we meet agains”, the most noted cure is frequent correspondences with the proprietor of that particularly heart-wrenching goodbye. Now, for those kidnapped heartstrings which you feel you may never have back- what of those? You probably won’t ever get them back. But the exquisite irony of tragedy is that usually, if you look deep enough, it plants a seed for something new and equally beautiful to grow. The challenge is, after you’ve healed, finding that seed and figuring out what to plant in the place of what you’ve lost. What’s interesting about the etymology of the word “break” is that it has dozens of definitions. Obviously, the primal of these being “to fracture”. Looking on, however, we see that it can also mean “an interlude”, and if one dares to venture further, “an opening.” Thus, considering these definitions in context with a “broken” heart, we learn that to harbor a broken heart means that we are engaged in an “interludory process of creating an opening”. That opening is where the remnant seedlings get planted, and new heartstrings have the chance to grow. Maybe those heartstrings will beat differently than the ones lost, but they will beat, and they will eventually fill the void of those heartstrings you desperately and oftentimes unwillingly had to relinquish. You may always miss that heartstring, but you will be healed, with time, as the new one grows. And it doesn’t mean you have to forget the one that beat there before. It just means that you now have learned how to trust your heart again, after time and time again, it fails you.
Peace and Love.
Artwork by Jason Alexander Cruz


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