Of broken hearts and their journey back to love

“She was the love of my life,” a close friend of mine told me recently. I pathetically patted his hand in an effort to comfort him.

I remember only too well the pain he was in at that moment, having been left by my fiancé only nine months before. I remember that feeling of that hole in my chest, my inability to breathe properly and the sense of endless loneliness. I also remember how empty the words sounded my friends uttered to me back then. “He’s not worth it!” “He never deserved you!” Blah, blah, blah. Nothing they said made me feel any better.

So, how could I help my friend? I realised I couldn’t, not actively anyway. I knew he would have some tough few months of grieving ahead of him. Sadly, he needed to go through the pain and disappointment – it’s all part of the healing process. All I could do was to be there for him, keep an eye on him to make sure he didn’t set off on a dark path.

Over the coming months I watched him go through the five stages of grieving. At first he’d hide himself away, stopped showering and eating, replaying the happy times (Denial and Isolation). Then, in a fit of rage he’d trashed his own place, destroying any evidence of their past together and shouting at those trying to help (Anger). A few weeks later he tried to win her back promising to become a better man if only she’d take him back (Bargaining). When all this didn’t work he became withdrawn and the sadness took over (Depression). The last phase took the longest, but 3 months into the sadness, he started to come to terms with what had happened (Acceptance).

Everyone who has had their heart broken will go through this journey in some way or another, in their own time and in their own way. Coping with loss is a deeply personal experience.

In the end it was the people around him, his friends and family who, despite of their inability to help him directly, were able to provide an anchor to love. You see, love takes on many forms and it’s our ability to give and receive it which is the essence of our being.

Have you had your heart broken before? How did you heal? What helped you through it? We’d love to hear your stories and where your journey of love has taken you.

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