“Always remember that when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind … when a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her.”
Alice Munro, too Much Happiness
Just Breathe: Keep Breathing
Six things I’ve used to help get through.
I gravitate towards song lyrics which expressly tell me to breathe, right there in the song, over and over again. I literally need this reminder, at least once a day. In addition, I have found six more things that have made the months just a little more bearable, six techniques, one for each month I have found myself single once more and just trying to move on. I like symmetry and so here are six things, one for each month so far.
Family and Friends.
Where would I have been in those initial first days, when I was in a fog of denial and disbelief, if I hadn’t had my siblings to rant to.
From my oldest brother’s calm wisdom, to my sister’s been-there advice, to my younger brother’s patience as I railed in anger. A reminder that I was not alone with a single unexpected delivery of flowers from a friend. The comfort from my parents and their unwavering support and love. I would be nowhere without these people. Nowhere!
There are only so many times a girl can hear John Legend’s hit song All of Me and not want to throw something. This is where these soulful ladies came in.
Of course there’s no shortage of weepy breakup songs out there. I found the ones that spoke to me. How could I ever have gotten through the feelings of anger and loss without such artistes as Ingrid Michaelson, Lily Allen, and
These women’s strong voices were just what I needed to push through the heartbreak and make sense of the nonsensical.
I had a dog already, but my family were surprised, to-say-the-least, when one day out-of-the-blue I announced I was getting a kitten. Was I crazy, they demanded? Did I really want this or was I simply making a rash decision that I would regret later, when I realized all the responsibility?
What they didn’t understand was that I needed something. I needed to feel loved and be able to give love in return. Dobby and Lumos gave me something to get up for in the morning, because I knew someone or something needed me.
Whether it was my rambling release of anger I directed toward the end of the life I thought I had and toward the one who hurt me or the catharsis of writing just because I love it and it keeps me sane. I was able to filter what I wanted or needed to say in any particular moment, by saving the really harsh stuff for a private journal. This was a friend’s idea, (see Number 1).
Or my blog, where I could express myself in a more constructive and appropriate way. I would have been lost without both. Just hope I never switch the two accidentally.
Being surrounded by the memories every day.
This last one might sound strange, given all that advice out there to burn absolutely every item of his so you don’t have to look at it and be reminded. Well, that’s a little tough, considering I am living there still, in my house, the house we lived in together.
He packed up all his clothes and computers and left. Wherever he is, he is able to not have to look at the memories all the time, but this is my house and I wake up and go to bed surrounded by the things we did and had and the images are unavoidable. Sure, I could have moved and run from all of it, but that just wasn’t practical.
I did little things to deal with the in-your-face reality of my situation, such as sleeping in another room that wasn’t ours. I still can’t sleep in our bed, but I know (with a little help from a new set of sheets and pillows) that I will reclaim the master bedroom as my own. By staying behind I am forced to confront the past every day and to let it make me strong again.
I reclaim a spot on the couch or a shelf in the bathroom and I take back my power. The ghosts of the relationship linger, sure, but I face them and I grow from that and keep moving forward.
Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven. Twelve months and a year.
After six months I am doing my very best, by finding all the things that make life bearable, that make life better.
These last six months have been some of the hardest of my life, but they have also been some of the most character-building.
Who knows what the next six months and beyond will bring, but I hope within that time I will continue, no matter how fast or slow, to heal.
We don’t get to choose how fast we recover from heartbreak and move on with life, but I will continue to focus on myself and on doing what’s right for me.
How long did it take you to get over heartbreak? What are some of the things you used to cope? What music do you listen to when dealing with life’s struggles?