dear heart: you are about to be irrevocably broken
Two days before Florence’s diagnosis. This photo still shakes me. I look at it and feel the earth roll under my feet.
This was innocence. Bliss. Normality. Complacency.
I look at this and reel. I acknowledge this moment. When I felt free of pain. When I sat on the edge of the unknown, but truly believed nothing was seriously wrong with my baby.
I feel a sense of anger towards my old self. How did you not know? Why weren’t you prepared? Why were you smiling?
I didn’t know what was coming. But at her birth, and once we met her and gazed at her face, I felt her fragility. I felt how holy her little life would be. I certainly didn’t understand it, but my mother heart sensed that her journey would be different.
And so, I rewrite this tragedy and speak softly to my heart. I take all the broken, angry pieces and push them all together. I honour the strength of my heart. I honour the goodness of God. He didn’t will for these things to happen but he did allow them. But he is still so good.
I will not be ruined, but I will be built up in my brokenness. I will always feel the ache. And you know what? I think this is how it’s supposed to be. We must feel the Ache. Otherwise we remain complacent, we fill up with earthly goods, we get distracted and lose sight. We go numb. To pain, to sorrow, to stress, to grief. Brokenness becomes a sign of weakness. And weakness is rejected in our society.
But this is the gift of grieving and of brokenness. Some seem to think brokenness is a sign of failure. A need for more prayer. I don’t see it like that. I believe I will be whole, but I am scarred. One cannot cut into the body without leaving a scar. The same is true for the heart. The tissue thickens, the healing starts, but the marks are there on your marbled skin.
I will never lose sight.
My eyes are fixed.
You are about to be irrevocably broken. In a few days you will experience a quake so deep, it will change you. You will be told something that will nearly stop you. You will feel like you can’t keep beating. The doctor’s words will niggle deep into your layers and flow right through you.
You will carry anger, sadness and sorrow. For a long time. Over time you will grow accustomed to this pain, but heart? You will need time to repair. You will need a lot of time.
And then, dear heart, something even darker will overwhelm you and you will tremble and you will break. Oh, how you will break.
You will want to stop beating just like her heart did.
But, you won’t. Miraculously, you will thump on through the days of grieving. You will reel and roll and pound like a wild animal in a cage.
And you will also feel the waves of joy again. You will open and swell. You will continue to mend and break, mend and break.
Heart. You have done well.
Your fault lines are here to stay. And that’s okay.
I love you, brave heart.