Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I dropped a glass the other day, and it shattered. I don't drop or break things often, and I was startled at how loud the sound of the glass shattering was.

It was loud, and violent, and left behind little jagged edges that made me bleed.

Which made me think of the heart, and how, when it breaks, there is no sound. There is no loud shattering announcing to the world that it has broken. The only person who may bleed from the jagged edges it leaves behind is you. How many times can a heart break before you've lost too many of those little shards, and you can't ever get it glued back together, whole again?

It seems wrong, somehow. When you break a leg or an arm, you've got a cast on, announcing to the world that you've been damaged. But when your heart is broken, and let's face it, the pain from that is far worse than any bone in a cast can ever be, no one knows unless you tell them.

And so, no one will know. I'll paste on the smile I've gotten very good at flashing at people, to distract them from the pain in my eyes. I'll keep it quiet, because letting people know would open a world of issues and some friends, who have finally stopped looking at me with pity and concern in their eyes, would go back to wondering how close I really am to the edge, which is honestly something they do not want to know.

The thing is, when all is right with the world, and our hearts are bursting with love, the joy that fills you, fulfills you, makes you feel whole, no matter how damaged your body may be. Love can make all the other horror in the world melt away. It bolsters you, like a shot of whiskey in your tea, against the things that are cold, and wrong and hard in the world.

When the heart is broken, there is unbearable pain, and to ignore the pain is to feel hollow. So for now, I am hollow. My arthritis has flared, and badly. I can barely walk, my knees are swollen, my hips are throbbing, and my spine feels like it is on fire. I am exhausted, from the arthritis fatigue, and the very fact that the pain wears me out, it tears at my soul, and I don't have that much will to fight things sometimes. But I can take the physical. I haven't had a day without pain in over three years, it is my constant companion, and at times, it was the only thing reminding me I was still alive. I can take the physical. But the pain in my heart, the pain of letting go of something you held so close, of realizing something is completely, truly and finally gone. The feeling of those little shards poking around inside you, making you bleed on the inside is just too much to manage as well.

Hollow isn't such a bad thing, though. Hollow doesn't hurt. Hollow doesn't make me feel so overwhelmed with pain that I might vomit. Hollow is empty. But emptiness implies a space that maybe, just maybe, will be filled again.


Blogger katiedid said...

I love that you can see the positive even when you're feeling so very low.

I know exactly what you mean. It's funny how quickly you learn to pick and choose who you continue to open up to about how hard it is. Having at least one person you can tell anything too is essential, I think.


12:40 PM  
Blogger K8 said...

Your post really resonated today. I've gone through the self-censorship when I feel like some friends are more ready for me to move on than I am. Sometimes you don't see the positive until you've gone through every permutation of the negative.


12:44 PM  
Blogger The Curly Knitter said...

I don't have anything of value to contribute but wanted you to know that I'm thinking of you. {{HUGS}}

1:56 PM  
Blogger Beverly said...

I completely understand that need to hide your pain even from those closest to you. In difficult times of my life, I have found that the more time that passes, the less I want to burden my friends and family with the grief and pain that they might think I should no longer have. Writing in a journal was my way of letting it out (in the days before blogging). I hope that the blog serves that purpose for you. I certainly love reading it. Hugs to you.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Bertha said...

I can't think of anything meaningful that would help, but know that I am thinking of you.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous alke said...

HUGS from me as well...

9:01 PM  
Blogger Josiane said...

It's wonderful to see the tiny bit of hope that seems to be peeking out of your last sentence... it has a light but beautiful luminosity.
(I hope I am somehow making sense; my English is so not up to the task when I want to express things like the feelings induced by your post.)

I am thinking of you.
big hugs

10:41 PM  
Anonymous jennifer said...


12:01 AM  
Anonymous monica said...

It's those shards healing, for they are not made of glass, they are made of blood and soul and they do indeed heal and get put together, maybe not in the same way, but they make a new space for new beginnings. Good luck to you! I was glad to see that glimmer of light. Follow it!

1:30 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

Hi Annie. Thinking of you. And hoping that your empty spaces will fill again.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous tiennie said...

I'm so sorry Annie. You write so well that I can feel your pain. I hate that you are in pain.

4:07 PM  
Anonymous J.P. said...

Wow. I have no words, but am sending you a big hug.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Batty said...

Hugs to you. And physical pain just makes emotional pain worse. Sending comforting thoughts your way, I hope they help.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Lanea said...

I hope you can find some treatment for the arthritis pain. It's so exhausting, isn't it?

I can barely even fathom the pain of losing a mate. Our close call a couple of winters ago laid me low, and I still well up at the mere thought. Sigh. I hope the joy you shared together is some sort of balm.

4:15 PM  

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