So, I’ve been thinking again too much…always dangerous. In many ways I would say that I am a lucky, well maybe, even a blessed person. I am healthy. I have two, happy (most days), healthy children. I have a home. I have a job…and right now, a job that I really, really love. I have loved deeply. It all sounds pretty good on paper.
Then, there’s the flip side…the tragic side really…widowed at 39. My husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer five days after the birth of our second son. He died. Widow and children move through life searching, hoping, and trying to heal their hearts.
Tragic sounding, a sad story, I don’t sound so lucky or blessed when you see this piece of my story.
I still argue that I am blessed…bad things have happened, but with hope and trust, I held on to the thoughts in the first paragraph. I work very hard to heal hearts…mine and theirs. I work very hard to move forward with my broken heart. My broken heart, my rebuilt heart, my paper thin heart still has love to give. I was so lucky all those years ago to find someone to love and who loved me…”just as I am”.
Now what do I do
With this sweet love of mine
Do I give it away and
Hope someday I’ll find
Someone half as awake
As the moon and the stars
Mother, teach me to love
With a paper-thin heart
Sheryl Crow, Detours
As hard as I have worked on healing my grief, I still think I am left with a paper thin heart. I worry that it will be torn again and sometimes I don’t know if I can heal it again if it is shredded into pieces once more. I have poured my love out onto and around my children. That’s safe, that’s a place I know that the love will be received and although not always appreciated, it will mean something. What I haven’t done is let someone love me…I haven’t even really considered it possible.
It’s a strange life doing everything for yourself. I’m the one who makes all the decisions. I have all the responsibility and buck stops with me. Seven years since he died equals seven years of me doing everything. I’ve gotten used to life being this way. I just do it. It’s really the only option. I really don’t think about my needs very often. I just keep moving. I just keep on going. Someone caring about me was a memory. I knew how it worked back then, but it really was a memory. My coping skills have pushed that part of me far, far back into the past. I have set myself aside…to survive. It was too painful to think about how alone I’ve been and too painful to think it may never happen again and I will be alone forever.
Will my paper thin heart be able to handle it if someone cares for me? The answer is still evasive. Someone has walked in and helped me feel again. He has taken my breath away at moments with very simple moments of caring. He opened up my paper thin heart and snuck inside. I’m really not sure how, but he did. He is kind and loving. The really strange part I think is that I still can’t believe it most days. I’m not sure if that is part of the paper thin heart deal or just that I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop…because, remember the second paragraph…tragic. Tragic things happen to me…no one prepared me for a good thing to happen again. I want to hold him close and then moments later worry that if he cares about me that something bad will happen and I need to push him away before it does. I’m not sure if my paper thin heart can just handle that it is ok to be cared for and to care for someone again.
What I do know is that I have love to give. It’s a very strange adjustment for me to accept someone caring for me though…
I do believe that it is easier to give love than to receive it too. It’s a very vulnerable and risky place letting someone into your heart and letting them care for you…even if your heart is not paper thin. It’s difficult for me to think that I am worthy of this caring…it’s been a long time since someone cared about just me. It’s hard to let someone in when I know that he may leave too.
But here’s the thing…I think it’s time for me to find out. Paper thin or not, my heart longs for this…no matter how it turns out. Isn’t that the real challenge? The real risk is just putting my heart on the line again…no matter how it turns out.