Monday, October 3, 2022

Open Your Heart

  This blog was written on September 27, our local online news source The Community Journal published it that day, so I waited to post until today.

A few days after my husband Rick died, my friend, Christine Ohlman called.  She had been a member of the widow's club for a few years and she understood so much of what I was thinking and feeling.  As we talked, well she did most of the talking while I sobbed and tried to breathe and grasp simple  phrases to respond to her.  One phrase she repeated in that conversation and many others that followed, "Keep your heart open, open your heart."

When her words began to sink in, opening my heart was the LAST thing I wanted to do.  My heart was in a gazillion pieces, strewn around my soul in the wake of a grief driven hurricane.  All I wanted to do was curl up in a fetal position on the sofa and fade away in oblivion.

Christine was relentless.  She texted, called, sent cards,  and always there was that phrase, "open your heart."  As the days passed into weeks, then somehow months, "open your heart, keep your heart open" started to make sense.  Grief was showing me every emotion I was capable  of...anger, sadness, fear, loneliness, self-pity and each one was felt in extreme.  It  made sense after a few months, that it would be easy to become bitter, stay angry, and live in a perpetual pity party.  I finally got it.   "Open your heart" was the key for opening the door to letting go.

I pursued letting go and opening my heart as if they were precious jewels.   I hated not recognizing that person in the mirror and I knew that no matter how much I loved Rick and missed him,  I was still here and it was important to my existence as a human  that I had to find my way  back on the road less traveled.

I am writing this today September 27 because it is "National Day of Forgiveness."

You might ask what does this day have to do with opening my heart.?  My biggest lesson on this grief road ( it has been 26 months since he passed) has been forgiving Rick for leaving  and forgiving myself because I couldn't save him.  Maybe for others who have dealt with loss, forgiveness means nothing but for me the day I forgave Rick and myself I started to pick up all those tiny fragments of my broken heart.  It will always be broken, with pieces scattered here and there,  but at last I know my heart didn't disintegrate into a pile of's still with me and it's open.  From the bottom of my busted open heart, thanks Christine.



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