This I Believe

Dana - Milan, Illinois
Entered on July 4, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: hope, love, setbacks

I believe that hearts can be broken. Smashed, squished and left bleeding on the floor. A hole in your chest where there used to be a warm and beating center.

Last year, I was married to a man who I thought would be my partner for the rest of my life, no matter what challenges we had and would face – our two faiths, his going to college, infertility, my chronic illnesses, Army Reserves, his children, taking care of our twenty four acres, two dogs and both working full-time. It was busy, at times hectic, but generally a good and rewarding life.

I loved him, the kids and our two dogs more than I knew. I thought we built our home and family with the values I grew up with – hard work, reward, love, faith, commitment, caring and family. It is almost a year now since my husband of ten years came home with his mid-life crisis and changed my life in an instant by breaking my heart.

In this past year I have had to give up so many precious and wonderful things – my husband, my stepchildren, my house and land, one of my dogs, as well as my confidence, my trust, beliefs about love, fidelity and commitment. I have had to give up my extended family, friends and life as I knew it and hoped it would be.

I have known friends, family and others who have been going through grief – but I had no idea how encompassing and vast it could be. Grief is sneaky and slippery. It pops up at the oddest times. Memories of happy times, sad times, boring times, mad times, smells, sounds, and pictures can cause you to stumble and hesitate. Doubts creep in where you once were strong. Hopes, dreams and wishes die slowly.

Yet even with my broken heart, I have started to find some joy in my life – a new job, my dog, a new house to decorate, property to landscape, new friends, volunteer work, a renewed faith in God as well as new goals and dreams. My parents, brothers and sister have been an unknown source of strength and solidity in a time when my world was so shaky.

I also have so many new beliefs – hearts can be broken, hearts can mend, asking for help can get easier, moving on is work, God is with me, and there is goodness and joy in just everyday things. One man, his infidelity, lies, uncaring family and lack of commitment don’t represent the values of everyone. There are good people out there – I see them everyday – people who love, care and commit no matter what.

Just as I believe hearts can be broken, I now believe they can mend. Each day is a challenge – to find the threads that tie the heart back together and let go of the threads that don’t.