There is thing we have and we all have it too. We call it life, and sometimes, life happens beyond our control. Life goes on without regard for what we ask for or what we wish. This is life.
Life happens on a daily basis. This is us, every day, weaving through time and negotiating the daily obstacles, overcoming, sustaining, and enduring the mild to major intrusions. that happen to us, Like it or not. This is life.
There is no point in comparing what we have (or don’t have) to someone else. Whether we feel the same way, good, bad, or indifferent; we are all equally unique and equally similar as individuals. However, in moments of despair or in times of personal suffering; it feels as though the rest of the world functions perfectly (except for ours) and that no matter how we try to reconcile or redeem ourselves, when heartbreak is involved, the world can be a lonely place.
I had a conversation with a friend after his breakup with a longtime girlfriend. He asked me if I thought anyone has ever died from a broken heart.
I do not think this question applied specifically to my friend alone. In fact, I can say without any doubt in my heart, that in the depths of heartache and loss, yes, a broken heart can be devastating.
I once met a woman at a benefit for children with pediatric cancer. This woman was a mother. Above all, she endured the worst kind of loss. She endured the most unnatural kind of loss because of all things in this world; there is nothing more unnatural than a parent burying their own child. Her’s was a six year-old girl. Her name I withhold out of respect for anonymity; however, I report the tragedy because this is the truest definition of a broken heart.
Again, life happens without our consent. Tragedy happens without keeping us in mind. In the case of this woman, however, she was a kind woman, approaching middle-age, and yet, she was aged in a way that I cannot describe in words.
When speaking about her other children, this woman remarked, “ I never tell my kids that everything will be alright because sometimes, everything won’t be alright.”
The hole she felt in her heart could not and will not ever be filled or cured. Instead, all she has is the memories of a beautiful little girl that used to call her, “Mommy.”
We sat together for the entire benefit. I admired her as a mother. I admired her as a woman. I admired her as a symbol of strength and courage. But more accurately, I saw her as the strongest person I have ever met in my life.
Certainly though, I am sure if asked, this woman would prefer to be less strong and in the company of her youngest daughter. Unfortunately though, life on life’s terms did not give that woman this choice.
When I think of this woman I go back to an old friend of mine whom I will name Troy for this post. Troy was the strongest person I have ever met in my life. He benched pressed 500lbs. He was an athlete. He was a wrestler. He was also one of the most physically dominant people I had ever seen before.
At the end of the benefit, I stayed around with one of my partners and helped put some of the tables and chairs away. The woman, or should I say, the Mom we sat with stayed behind to help do the same.
Now, in fairness, this woman was not able to carry much. She could not help lift the table. But if Troy were there, I am sure Troy could have lifted anything in that room; however, as true as life happens without our regard; truly, I can say that Troy is and was nowhere near as strong as that Mom I sat with.
Life . . .
It can certainly is a bitch sometimes.
I remember the morning of December 29th, 1989. We had just said goodbye to The Old Man at a hospital known as Hempstead General.
Mom came downstairs from her bedroom. She walked outside and stood on the front stoop of our home. This, of course, is back when we lived at 277 Merrick Avenue. Traffic still drove passed us. The traffic lights still worked. The television came on and the Channel 4 News didn’t skip a beat.
Life went on as usual.
Mom asked me, “How could this happen?” She wondered, “Doesn’t the world know what just happened?”
If I’m being honest, felt the same way. I remember looking around my home and seeing all the memories of The Old Man. It was strange to me. I could feel his spirit in the home, but yet, I couldn’t see him. I never thought much about what my life would be like when without The Old Man, But without expectation, life happened and The Old Man was gone.
I held this pain for a long, long time. Mom, on the other hand, she held this pain until the day Mom passed away on June 10th, 2015.
In a bad time with all around me failing fast and crumbling, I asked Mom if anyone ever died from a broken heart. She told me yes. She also told me we die a lot in life. We die, but if we are lucky and so long as we keep on living, we have the chance to be born again.
I can’t say what it feels like to lose a child. However, I can say I understand what it feels like to be disappointed as a parent. I know what it feels like to be brokenhearted. I know what loss is. I know what pain feels like and I know what sadness is.
I also know what it feels like to be reborn. I know what it’s like to feel redeemed. And yes, there are holes in my family that can never be replaced. There are loved ones I miss with all my heart. There are losses I’ve endured. There are failures, which I have suffered, and breakups, which I thought would destroy me.
But did I die?
No . . .
But I think Mom was right. We die several times in life, but if we continue and so long as we keep living, if we’re lucky, we have the chance to be reborn.
Mom told me, “You just can’t stop living.”
Back when The Old Man was sick, he told me, “Take care of your mother.” another thing The Old Man said was, ” Do what your Mother says.”
I just can’t stop living . . .
Okay, Mom. I’ll do what you said.
Wish you guys could come visit though. The leaves are changing by my house and the scene is absolutely beautiful!