The mother of all Hallmark holidays is upon us. Today is Valentine's Day, which means that love is everywhere: splattered in red across flowers, chocolate boxes, and teddy bears in every store in America.
But I'm not going to write about love. Instead, I'm going to write about heartbreak.
Everyone who reads this blog knows the feeling. Whether it comes in the form of a failed relationship or - for many of us - a failed cycle or failed adoption, we know what it's like to be crushed. We know what it feels like to have our heart ripped up into a million pieces. We know what it's like to be bitter, and to feel like the entire world is set against you.
It's not a good feeling – that empty place where love and happiness once lived, now filled with nothing. Darkness. Sadness.
There was a time when that was all I felt. There was a time when the pain was so difficult that I didn't know how to cope. Mostly, I didn't cope. I floated along, wondering if and when there would be a breaking point to the madness. Luckily, that breaking point never came, but there were dozens of times when I thought it was close.
These days, it ebbs and flows. My therapist likes to remind me that it's grief, and not bitterness (which I thank her for, since grief is much easier to accept in some ways). There isn't a linear process to overcoming this heartache, and for some, we may never completely heal. But there is progress. Yesterday, I held a baby who was one day old without so much as a hint of anger or sadness. In fact, it felt GOOD. I felt happy, and I can't remember the last time that holding a baby has made me smile with pure joy. That feeling of goodness and joy probably won't last forever. But for now, it's a sign that things are getting easier - every single day.
What I'm getting at here is that the feeling of emptiness is temporary. You don't stay at the heartbreak hotel forever. Checking out also doesn't mean that you won't ever go back to that place again, but there is an end. There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. I know, because I know people who've found it. Someday, I hope to be in that happy place for good. And one way or another, I hope we all get to heal our heartbreak.
Sending love to those who need it most today.