My day ended in a public bathroom, wedged into a stall, trying to peel a heartbroken, grief stricken, hysterical teenage girl off the floor. Her sobs literally shook her body and could be heard all the way down the hall. She is heartbroken and it breaks my heart to see her in so much pain. However, I feel powerless to make it go away and quite frankly, I can't. As inappropriate as her relationship was with this man, her feelings are real. Feelings of loving and being loved in return. Feeling safe and protected. She feels lost without this relationship or as she once described it; feeling as if she has completely fallen apart and she is scrambling to collect all the pieces, but can't. In her mind and heart, she is now incomplete.
The day before yesterday, a friend of mine found out she had been lied to and cheated on. When she gave her significant other the choice of her or the other person, her significant other picked the other person. She too, is heartbroken and grief stricken. Desperately trying to figure out the least painful way to break the news to her young daughter, while trying to maintain composure.
I talked to a man earlier this week whose wife served him divorce papers just before the holidays. He thought their problems manifested over the past year. Turns out, she's been unhappy more than three quarters the duration of their marriage. He too seems to be grieving the loss of a marriage; worried about the effect it will have on their two children.
In a phone conversation with an acquaintance, I was informed he was entrenched in a very nasty divorce as well.
I have encountered many brokenhearted people recently. Broken families. Broken promises. Broken vows. People in different stages of the process; anger, resentment, hurt, grief. I don't like to see people hurt; especially good people. I've been referred to as having a "Jesus complex" in the past; my desire to carry every one's burden in hopes to relieve their pain. However, I've realized over the past couple of years, no matter how much of the burden I carried for them, they still had to carry the burden themselves. It's a process everyone must go through and typically differently.
This past week, I was reminded of how grief stricken I used to be. I remember feeling incapacitated. I remember sitting on the floor, sobbing and feeling paralyzed. I remember flying into fits of rage; sobbing, yelling, and throwing things; followed by deep, deep, depression. I remember thinking it would never get better; I would never experience relief. How could I? There was a piece of me forever missing.
Looking back, it really doesn't seem like it's been that long. The transformation I've made has been remarkable (if I do say so myself). I know I'm not speaking erroneously because those who accompanied me through the tumultuous journey, have said the same. Two years ago, when I first started Al-Anon, I couldn't breathe or speak. I wanted to die. I felt as if a part of me already had. Four months later, I moved out and the journey continued. If I block my journey into 6 month "stages", my transformation doesn't seem like it took that long at all (hindsight, of course). In the moment, 6 months seemed like an eternity. However, when your world has caved in, one day seems like an eternity because the pain is so unbearable.
I am very grateful to have embarked on this journey at such a young age. I feel blessed to have the support and resources I have had along the way. I have learned and grown so much. I learned I control no one; I control nothing. I learned faith is very fragile and vital, not only for surviving, but thriving. I learned what I had considered to be "catastrophic" events (things that caused me to cease functioning), were really minor in the grand scheme of things. I learned to laugh more and scorn less. This list really goes on and on. One very important thing I have learned over this journey has been to be OK with me. I accepted who I am and quit trying to be something I'm not or someone I thought everyone wanted me to be. I've learned to have confidence in myself. Most of all, I have learned to do the best I can at any given moment, during any given day because nothing is guaranteed. Once the moment has passed, it will not come back. Nothing is ever written in stone and just because you don't feel comfortable in a situation, doesn't mean it won't make sense later. Stepping outside (or being thrown out) of our comfort zone is imperative for growth. That is, if we chose to grow instead of fester.
If I could leave anything etched into the mind of the brokenhearted, it would be the following...It will get better. Not always in our time. We will get knocked down again. Someone elses actions will more than likely pull the rug out from underneath us. However, we make the choice to live or die. We make the choice to sit on our ass and mope or to get up and keep moving. In other words, "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional".
And when all else fails, just remember to have FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE.