“It’s a heartache, nothing but a heartache. Hits you when it’s too late. Hits you when you’re down.” 1978 Bonnie Tyler. I was 10 years old. I knew nothing about heartache.
As I grew up I learned about hurt and pain and loss. I had boyfriends – oh yeah! Great guys – every one of them. They were fun and kind and I have nothing but good things to say about all of them – but nonetheless, they were not destined to be my forever! So break-ups hurt – no matter which side of the breakup you were on, it hurt. You know that those friendships that were there before the ‘relationship’ will take time to heal and go back to ‘semi-what’ they were before. I think it’s the loss of friendship that hurt so much.
My kids have had breakups and heartache in their lives too. It’s hard to watch as a parent as they hurt from those. It’s sometimes hard to watch as a parent because you had really gotten attached to their special someone – in some ways you have to break-up too! Yeah, I’ve cried!
I haven’t written about my favourite things in a while, because, honestly, I have struggled to find those things. Lately, though I know they are there and I see them, I just don’t feel them. It’s been a tough couple weeks. Like the song says… hits you when you’re down. Still feeling like I am walking in this in-between world since summer, the heartache will still slam into me and then it just sits there.
This last slam stemmed from the New year. In a New year I get excited to use my new day planner at work. I ordered it in fall and it has just been sitting in the cupboard waiting for January to up and attack. I get to open its cover and smooth the pages. This year I chose a black cover with a white floral etching on it. Opening it I see all the blank Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays… each waiting for something exciting to be written in it (ok, not terribly exciting, but I get to ink it up!). In order to jog my memory – well, who am I kidding – in order to have a memory at all, I need to go through my old day planner and find notes that I think will be important to recall in 2017. Things like: how many bulletins did I print for Christmas or Easter; when did I phone to reserve the picnic site; etc.
So I flipped open 2016 and 2017 simultaneously and started to peruse through the old year and letting the New year know what may take place. I had only turned the page once in 2016 and there it was, January 6, 2016; lunch with dad. Heartache. The kind that hits so hard and so deep that it sucks all the air out of your lungs. (I really liked those boyfriends of high school – but that heartache was not like this!)
One year ago one of my favourite things would have been to have lunch with dad. It would still be one of my favourite things. One year. Wow. How things change. And here we are, months after my dad’s passing and we have moved on. We keep walking. We keep going. And sometimes we just drag ourselves from one moment to the next hoping that the next drag of the foot will be easier and the next moment will be jollier.
And it will. It will because our God promises us that he will stand by us and carry us to the shore when the oceans of life threaten to drown us. His life ring isn’t just a thing that he tosses out to us and hopes we catch – he stands with us. It is his presence that sustains us and we just need to hang on and when we just can’t hang on, trust that he holds us above the water until our feet hit the sand once again.
My mom lost her husband and best friend. She is riding the waves of this in a different way than I am, but riding she is. Her everyday has been forever changed. Her lunch dates and coffee breaks are completely new. And she reminded me, “you have Bernie, love him, be good friends, journey together, and don’t take each other for granted.”
So I look at my pictures and see the Christmas eve photo that Jozanna (jozannatheolynn.com (shameless plug for my daughter!) shot and some of that heartache eases. Life is full of mystery and surprise and joy and sorrow. I’m ok to venture into sorrow sometimes. I’m ok to cry and even wail. I’m ok to sit in that space from time to time. But I also need to remember that there are many favourite things out there and one of them is my husband and best friend. Perhaps, sometimes, Bernie is the physical buoy that God throws out there to help pull me to shore.
Today, at almost the exact moment that I needed it, God nudged Bernie to send me a text; simple, unpoetic, uncomplicated. Simply, “Good morning babe, I love you.”