At 24, I fell in love for the first time in my life. I gave him everything my heart had ever longed to give to someone in a deep, real, and special way. In regards to love, it was the first time I felt what putting someone’s happiness before your own has meant. I’ve never taken love lightly; I was patiently waiting until I felt my heart was ready to love selflessly. I dated a guy for a couple weeks in college, but it wasn’t until 5 years later that I decided to truly say yes to a genuine, actual relationship. I had no idea my heart could love anybody the way that I loved him; it was intense and real for me. He was my first kiss too. Yes, my first kiss was at age 24. I was waiting to give it to the person I was certain I’d be walking down the aisle to one day. I saw him being that man and I thought he wanted to be that man too. I could easily regret many things from my time with him, but I’m not. I would rather love as strong as I did than to not have loved at all. My heart was just being brave. Before we broke up, I wrestled with hurt, broken feelings for a week trying to bear my reality until I realized—there was a reason my heart wasn’t trying to bear it. The pain was too deep, and somethings just aren’t recoverable. I remember the pivotal moment when I knew I had to let go; I couldn’t grip anything hard enough. The collapse of my heart was immense and it felt like angels would never stop cleaning up the rubble.
As easy as it would be to write about what happened, I don’t think that would help anybody (or me for that matter)—though it would probably give you a clearer perspective as to why it’s taken my heart three months to feel like it’s breathing again. In the midst of healing, these seven things have helped in tremendous ways to mend my heart ache. I hope they help you too if you’re climbing up this mountain.
Even if you don’t know where to start and they’re more of a babble than anything, your prayers will turn to a confident, “Thank you, Father.”
Getting rid of the memories.
Pictures, letters, first date pressed flowers, hand-made gifts not yet given to him, the shoe box of kept memories from every date—were all thrown away. You don’t need to be reminded of painful memories on top of the heartbreak you’re feeling.
Deleting them off Facebook (or whatever social accounts you may have).
It helps, trust me and if you can—do it. I didn’t delete the mutual friends until two months later and regret not having done so sooner. The only person I cared to tell about this moving on part of the process before I removed her was his mother. She sent me sweet words the day after we broke-up and she cared enough to talk and pray with me two months later. That day meant a lot.
Saying goodbye to music that triggers pain.
Say goodbye to Adele and hello to Needtobreathe or more uplifting music. The power of music is just that—power. Listen to music that will breathe life into your lungs again. Music wants to help you, let it.
Talking with people who care.
My mother is the kind of mom who would call me every night she could to see how I was doing. I remember how countless phone calls of crying and venting turned to laughter and healing because of her. My twin was my shoulder to cry on, the person with me everyday who kept encouraging me until I reached the breaking point. Our Saturday morning coffee time doesn’t consist of me blowing my nose or tasting tears in my drink and it feels so good. Between long calls with my mother, face-time chats with my older sister, vents with friends, and long cries with my twin, I had every reason to not keep anything bottled in. Just be real with them. They care.
Never holding in tears.
More than anything, I believe in a God who tells me there is a time to love, a time to let go, a time to weep, and a time to heal and laugh (Ecclesiastes 3). You see, you don’t just have to get over it. He’s compassionate and understands going through healing. However, like any other wound would heal, so does heartbreak.
I never ripped off the band-aid until it was done bleeding. I never held in my tears when they needed to fall and I stayed true to what I was actually feeling; that has made all the difference.
The heartbreak that came with what happened wounded me so deep that my heart felt a deep ache for three months. Yes, tears flowed for 90 days straight, but eventually they went from showers of rain to light drizzles and I’m not ashamed. My twin sister sent me a text one night after I had expressed to her how much I wished the ache and tears would go away and this is what she said:
“Don’t forget, angel, that even whales whose hearts are the size of cars, cry too. So just cry. Everything will be okay. Those same whales break the surface of the waters and literally sing in joy. And you will too.”
I didn’t know that two weeks later after reading that, I would finally reach that breaking point. I got so tired of drowning in my own tears that eventually I needed to swim up and breathe.
Despite that I still feel a light ache, I’m grateful the deep ache is gone as well as the tears.
Recognizing when the deep pain is subsiding and choosing to move on.
I turned 25 this past February and I thought it’d be a move on day, but my heart was still climbing up. The breakthrough finally came in the beginning of this month. One morning, the deep pain wasn’t so deep anymore and I couldn’t go another fourth of a year feeling like this. I then had a dream I drove into a garage and saw a frail, dead woman clothed in a red dress lying in a casket. I backed up in thick fear, drove around the block, came back to the home, and she was alive. I woke up realizing I needed to lay to rest this relationship before my heart was the one that became dead and for the sake of my health. The corpse coming back to life showed me I had reluctance to move on by continuing to resurrect what happened. I finally buried my heartbreak in the ground and chose to finish the hike. I moved on.
The pain I felt turned into a scar; only a reminder now of how much I’m capable of loving someone.
So, I’m finally atop this mountain and my heart is tired, but like any good, tough and long hike, my heart is that much stronger.
Never forget that there is someone who will always love you, always be there for you, die for you, and never let you go. I call him Father, Redeemer, Jesus Christ and in this particular season, I’ve called him my Healer. The song below came on the radio driving home from work one day and it’s a song that turned my cry around into one of healing. I pray your breakthrough comes soon, dear friend. I think you were very brave, and are brave, and you’ll be brave again.