Heart Pieces


I’ve had my heart broken four times in my life.

Really broken.  I’m not talking let down.  I’m not talking about being disappointed.  I’m not talking about being sad and then eventually not ever thinking about whatever it was that made me sad again. I’m talking about ripped out of my chest and torn in half then in half again. So damaged that even when the wound finally heals there is a scar to remind me what had happened.  A memento of what was, and then what wasn’t.

There is no way to avoid this.  Its part of life….it’s the part of life that we need because without the heartbreak we wouldn’t know how good we can have it.

I had a miscarriage when I was 21.  My doctor was surprised I even knew I was pregnant.  But I was.  It was quite early in but for six days I imagined my baby growing inside me.  I daydreamed about what she would look like and what I would call her. How would I design her room? What was she doing to my body? Would it be as scary as everyone said it would be…to give birth? To raise her?  They call it expecting for a reason….It was so exciting and amazing to feel life growing within me….even as tiny as it was…it was there.  I felt it in my heart.

But something went wrong.  I didn’t do anything to cause it and I wasn’t high risk or anything along those lines.  My body just wasn’t ready or the baby just wasn’t right.  My doctor told me it was nature’s way of preparing my body for the next one…a trial run of sorts.  I didn’t want to hear that.  I wanted that baby.  I wanted the baby that I got to know and love for 6 wonderful days.

Afterwards I cried nonstop…one day at least for each of the days I knew that baby was growing within my womb.  I’ve mentioned in other blogs the kind of cry I’m talking about.  The gut wrenching sobbing kind of weeping that you have no control over….red puffy eyes…so much snot you go through an entire box of tissue.  The kind of cry that just when you think you’re done, it begins again. The next day there are still signs of it in your eyes.  They sort of glaze over a bit…your mind obviously elsewhere.




The deepest and most palpable scar I have on my heart is left by the death of my father.  I expected him to live to be an old man.  He didn’t.  He didn’t even make it out of his fifties.  He was taken way too soon.  I felt cheated.  I feel cheated. I don’t think this one is even yet a scar.  It’s still stitched up and covered in band aids actually.  I don’t know if it will ever make it that far…because scars are healed wounds.

I don’t see that ever happening.




The third time…I’m going to dance around this one a bit because it’s one of those oh so complicated subjects…..

I was married once.

For a long time.  Half my life actually.  Marriage is hard…yes, they tell you this beforehand…but who the hell listens right??? Long story short…it didn’t work out. A few years before it ended I got my heartbroken.  No, there was not a big dramatic event causing this…it just happened.

Growing up every little girl imagines getting married. We put a blanket or a towel on our heads like a veil. Then we play that forever popular classic game of “house”.  As we females turn into teenagers we start envision what our husband would be like…mostly what he would look like.  Teenagers are like that…we all had that hubba hubba hunk of a celebrity we plastered our walls with in hopes of accidently bumping into him and getting swept off our feet. I started doing this quite young…at two years old I was sure that The Fonz was the love of my life.

Can you see the problem here?

Let me help…I couldn’t wait to get married.  I couldn’t wait to have babies.  I wanted the white picket fence.  I wanted to be Mrs. Cleaver…well…maybe not her exactly cause there was no way this chic would be caught dead in heals…not even for the wedding!

But you get the picture.  I had big plans and big expectations. And with that comes only one thing….big disappointment.




And then there was that time I let my heart get away from me.  It ended up on my sleeve. This is not a safe place to keep such a fragile organ.  No. Not a secure spot. Rather dangerous actually.

Carrying on with my heart upon my sleeve exposed it.  There it was, out for the taking.  I looked away for a moment and wouldn’t you know it….damn it….it got stolen.

I had been warned over and over…by my family…by my friends…by myself…guard it.  “Guard your heart Janelle.” This has been my mantra for years. I’ve even considered getting it tattooed on my wrist…as a reminder for when its sitting there on my arm…uncovered. Once or twice, when I was robbed before, I managed to get it back safe and sound.  Not a scratch on it.

But then there was that one time….



When my sister and I were little our mom used to have a saying when we were upset.  Mostly she said this to my sister and I just listened.  My sister would be bawling about something.  Not getting her way.  Fighting with me. Being forced to eat something she didn’t want to eat {oatmeal…always oatmeal}.  My mom would step back and pause for a second or two.  She’d look down at her crying daughter and with a long drawn out voice she’d say to her whimpering baby girl….”It’s…..th.…end….of….the…..wo—–rld!”  Then she’d laugh and laugh…causing my sister to cry and cry some more. I thought it was a fantabulous game.  Michelle did not.

Eventually the mood lightened and we all laughed about it.  This happened often…and we have both since incorporated it into our parenting regimen.  Thanks Mom.

I’ve learned now…after surviving a broken heart nearly a handful of times that, no…it’s not the end of the world.  Each and every time I have survived.  Each time I have managed to put the heart pieces back together.  And, yes, each time there is a new scar.

My little souvenirs of what had happened….

….they are also a reminder that with each ache and each time of sorrow I have put myself back together.  I have to. No one else can do it for me.  Some wounds may take longer to heal but I believe they will heal.  Scar tissue is tough.  It’s tougher than the original flesh that once was there and when that scar wraps around your heart and your heart is still beating….

…its proof that you have continued living.




3 responses »

  1. it amazes me how differently we recall things. after reading your stories, its no wonder I work in child abuse prevention. 😉 M

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