Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How Do you heal a Broken Heart?

I've had a very unsettling few days. You've heard me talk (frequently) about Evil Sister and her comical yet enlightening ways. I've spoken less often of my other dear friend, Good Sister. She is fifteen years younger than I am, is a professional woman with some pretty heavy responsibilities. I don't know that I could do all that she does and keep a sane thought in my head. I have known her since we moved to this county in 1988. Twenty one years and she doesn't seem to have changed much, if at all. She managed to work full time, rear a child, remarry and put herself through college. See, she is amazing. But that is not why I love her so. I love her for her kind and generous heart. She would drop what she's doing to help anyone. Not just those she knows and loves, but anyone. If she hears of a person in distress or need, she takes it upon herself to find the answer to their problem.

We met through our work. My family and hers were well known to each other. She had formerly been married to kin of ours, and I laughingly called her my "cousin-in-law" before we called each other "sister". We have stood by each other through tragedy and triumph, through life and death situations, through laughter and tears. When Mac had his heart attack, she got up from a warm bed and joined us at the hospital. So, you can see how I can't possibly turn my back on her, can't you?

She went through a particularly bad divorce five years ago. The break down of the marriage had begun long before that, but she held on, hoping against hope that the man she had loved would somehow see that he had changed, that he was no longer the stalwart slayer of dragons that he had always seemed to be. He refused to see that his damsel was in distress until it was to late to save the remnants of a marriage gone wrong. So it was all gone, up in dragons breath, burned to ashes, bitter as gall.

Early in November she met a man. She has been out on a couple of dates, always protesting that she is to old to be "dating" these days. I have encouraged her to have more in her life than her work. She needed fun in her life so much, and she's not a person who is ashamed to say she needs the company of a man, but it has to be a special man. This man she met while at a high level meeting, seemed to be the man. Although they only saw each other several times a month, (his business taking him far away, as far as Asia, as close as Spain...before getting back into the Charlotte area) she fell in love so quickly, so passionately you would have thought she was in her teens. She smiled and laughed all the time, looked forward to his return to the States each time. They stayed in constant touch via e-mail and cell phone. He was to return to the Charlotte area (which isn't where he actually lives) today. We went out to dinner with her on Friday and she was so excited that there seemed to be a light shining beneath her skin.

I've been on the phone with her for three days. Saturday she was a bit upset because she hadn't heard from him, but I calmed her down, talked to her...then Sunday she received a phone call from him. She called me, and she was crying so hard that I could barely make out what she was saying. I was pulling on coat and shoes, telling Mac I had to get to her. He could hear the panic in my voice and asked who it was he needed to kill. I burst into tears at that, so thankful that my dragon slayer was alive and well. I was telling her I was on the way and she begged me to just stay on the phone with her, that she'd be okay. We stayed on the phone for two hours. She cried. I listened. Then of course, I had to go to her.

How do you heal a broken heart? I know that somewhere someone has the answer, I wish you'd tell me what to do. I can't stand seeing her like this, and I can't desert her. I need the words that will make everything, if not okay, then marginally better. I'll be calling her in awhile, checking on her, making sure she is eating, giving her an emotional hug since we're now snowed in and I can't get to her to give her a real one. At least not today. In the mean time, my heart aches for her. I feel powerless to help. All I can do is be here for her as she has so often been there for me. It seems like so little.

53 comments:

Maggie May said...

Oh that is awful to have your hopes built up and then dashed down.
There is no easy way. You have to go through it and let it take its course.
Having such a good *sister* as you will really help her and you will always be there for her.
Sometimes it hurts just as much to see another person suffering as it does to have it happen to yourself.
Hope she feels calmer soon. My heart goes out to you both.

RiverPoet said...

There really is no quick way to heal a broken heart like that, except to replace the b*stard. If she found love once, she can find it again. Truly. And there will be another someone for someone as gentle-hearted as your friend.

Peace - D

Anna said...

Sandi, follow your heart - be with her. That is scary thing about life, one minute you are happy, the other all is gone. Unfortunately, she will have to heal herself, because we can only imagine, what she is going through. Thanks for sharing this heartfelt story Sandi. Anna :)

careysue said...

Sandi,

I am so sorry for your sister going through this.

She will have to go through this and the fact that she has you will make it just a bit easier. Tell her we all care and it will pass in time.

Will say a prayer for both of you tonight.

justabeachkat said...

Bless her heart!I wish I had a magic wand to lend to you. I feel like I need one to help our youngest get through a hard time right now. It's so hard when we love someone and just can't make it all better. Just love her....

Hugs!
Kat

Jeannie said...

I've never had my heart broken as a "real" adult. Any guy that ditched me, I assumed wasn't who I'd thought he was, and if he could treat me in such a way, wasn't worth crying over.

If my husband left me now after 30 years? I dunno if my logic would hold out.

JanaBanana said...

I dont have the answer for that.. My close friend, her husband left her for another woman, 2 kids... no job, you get the picture. He was her life. Her everything. She would call me up hyperventilating that she couldnt live without him. He was her world for over 10 years. I told her that one day she will hate him, and we would be blue haired old ladies looking back and laugh... she is over him. She moved on.. has another gentleman in her life. But 2 years ago you would have never known. She was so broken. I listened and gave her advice. Thats all I could do. Her and I live in opposite sides of the US.
Good luck my friend :)

Terri and Bob said...

Sandi, I can feel your heartache right through the computer.

I loved what Jeannie said. He isn't who she thought he was, so she is grieving for someone who never existed. She deserves someone who can be 100% as much infactuated with her as she is with him.

I wish I could give you both some hugs!

Jeanne said...

Oh Sandi I'm so sorry for your friend. Just be there for her. {{HUGS}} to you both. P.S. Love your snow shots.

Dr.John said...

Heartbreak is a terrible thing. It does not heal quickly. But you are there to hold her hand and most of all to listen. The best grief counselors that I know are also the best listeners that I know.
So hang in there and be there for her.

Dr.John said...

Heartbreak is a terrible thing. It does not heal quickly. But you are there to hold her hand and most of all to listen. The best grief counselors that I know are also the best listeners that I know.
So hang in there and be there for her.

CatHerder said...

Sorry dear sister is going through this...I being the forever optimist, like to think this just leaves her open for something much much better to come. Good luck :-)

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Oh no. I hate when these things happen. Although it's true that she was in love with the man that she thought he was that's not much help in these first few days. What a wonderful friend and sister she has in you. Hang in there as this sounds like a rocky road. Saying a prayer for you both...

Lee said...

This kind of thing, being left, rejected, can hurt SO much! It can also leave you feeling worthless. Be there for her. Hugs her and hold her when she cries. If you say you'll go somewhere with her be sure you are there. She needs to have someone who can be there since he isn't anymore. You already know my opinion of him since I told you on WLM. When we talk tomorrow I'll tell you the things I was told to do by my therapist when my husband left me. Maybe some of those things will help her start to heal.

Hugs! to her and you too.
Lee

Denise said...

You must understand that just a little from someone that loves you is much...... She does not need much from you as her heart is full of hurt,,, she only needs a little and that will bring healing.. I remember when I was so broken that I did not want to live...... My very best friend just sat and listened.... It brought healing....... it was just a little in the hands of love.. but it was much............

Hairline Fracture said...

You should do just what you are doing--except go to be with her in person when you can. It will help to know she is not alone, that someone cares.

ancient one said...

I wish I knew what the magic words would be... there are none...just listen and keep on listening and being there for her. She will really have to get through this herself, but she will never forget that you were there cheering her on.

Suldog said...

There are no words you can say that will magically make everything better, but every word you listen to will help to ease the pain. You're doing all that you can in that regard, I assume.

Best remedy for a broken heart is to rediscover how much fun you can have without the person you miss. I found, long ago before I married MY WIFE, that making a list of all the things I really enjoyed - and then doing them - was a great way to realize my own worth as a human being. You might suggest such a thing. Initially, she may say, "Oh, no, everything I like to do is tied up with memories of him!" but it isn't so, so don't let her get away with that sort of thinking. Ask her to remember what she loved to do before she met him or anyone else she became romantically involved with. There will be plenty of things, even if you have to go back to childhood to find them.

Hope this helps.

Everything Stops for Tea said...

Bless her,

There isn't a quick way though, time and lovely people like you will see her through it.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

If only we had a fast forward button on life to get past these hideously painful moments but then we would never appreciate the good stuff when it happens as we'd have nothing to measure it against. You are doing just what is needed - let her talk, spew out her pain, one day it will be anger and then she will be energised again to push forward with her life. Just make sure that one rogue toerag doesn't make her dubious about dating again - that would be the real tragedy as there are many great men out there who are kind and are looking for love. You are a great pal Sandi – that’s life affirming and the warmest blanket she can wrap herself in right now.

Moannie said...

Sandi... you are being a good friend and doing exactly the right thing. Wise old Suldog has it right...it is not what you say it is just listening. Like any bereavement only time will heal. A dear friend suffers from causal depression, usually triggered by rejection. I sit and listen as she rants and rages and weeps until she is almost unconscious. By the second day she is able to cope and I stay near the phone, ready to listen again. Each time she cries less...the pain is still there but she can cope.

Trubes said...

Hello Sandi, What an awful pain your dear sister has to endure and how good that you have each other. She'll get through this with your love and support.


Di.x

P.S. Sorry I've been a bit out of touch but
I have some good news on my site, which will explain my absence from favourite blogger sites!

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Oh Sandi - I feel so very sorry for her and I do know how she is feeling. I had a similar experience, many years ago. My family and friends were there for me. All you can do is listen and give hugs, just be you. You are obviously very close and she knows she can rely on you. She will get over it.

One thing I do remember from my experience was the day my 18 year old son came home from work, sat and held my hand, asked how I was, and if I had a friend I could talk to. Knowing I had such a caring family and friends did help. I'll never forget that moment.

Love and hugs for both of you.

A x

cheshire wife said...

Life can be so hard but they say that God only gives us what we can cope with.(Or something similar)

david mcmahon said...

Being there to listen to a friend is a great blessing.

Akelamalu said...

Broken hearts have to knit on their own but a good friend who will listen and just be there is good ointment. x

Love Bears All Things said...

You're doing what you can, being there for her. It will take time to heal. God is always there for her. Perhaps she can find comfort in that.
Mama bear

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Hi Sandi,
It must be wonderful to have such a genuine and loving Sister!
You said that what you are doing is so little but I disagree... it is something so wonderful to have someone to talk to in times of troubles like her's...
I've been in that situation a couple of time and I remember that all I wanted to do was talk and talk and talk and not sleep.
To have someone as kind and loving as yourself must be wonderful for her.
Time heals the heart, only time and the eventual discovery of a new love... those that don't work out are just never meant to be, just fate's way of steering us away from trouble or more heartache.
All the very best for your Sister and I hope that she will learn to smile and laugh again soon!
Donnie XX

Deb said...

Hi - Sending warm thoughts and hugs to you and Good Sister. Just be there for her ~ cry with her, hold her, rub her back...and listen. I am glad that she has you. Take care.

NeereAnDear said...

Oh my goodness... it so upsets me to hear of a good woman who falls hard and deep for a man that has a "sensitivity chip" missing....

I think the best you can do is listen... its hard to find the right words to say to someone who is hurting so much... let her know its ok to grieve and cry and let it all out...

There is a book called "He is not that into you" .... I understand it is very helpful for women who find men and dont understand why the walk away...

If I was not in the situation I am in right now I would NEVER go out with a man again... NEVER

I was alone for a very long time before I met this man... biggest mistake of my life

I wish her well and hope she will be ok... what a tough spot to be in... let her know we are all thinking of her and wishing her well

PS got that email from our friend today

LOTS OF HUGS
JO

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

what a shame..its hard....just be there for her..it takes is all..

Hilary said...

Sully is so right. It's not just time that mends a broken heart, but what you do with that time. It's taken me too many years, and breaks to learn that. But there's truth to it. I hope your 'sister' will heal soon. You're a good friend.

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

Poor girl - this is so very sad.
I don't have words to help - time - time is the cure! I was thinking while reading this - "I bet he's married"

Cheffie-Mom said...

I'm sorry Sandy. Time, it will take time to heal a broken heart. She is blessed to have you in her life. I'm sending hugs your way.

Mojo said...

As hard as it is to know it, you're really doing all you can do. Patience and kindness and unwavering friendship go a long, long way.

And once again I'm reminded of the wise words of a friend who said, "The only way around these things is through them." It was a different topic we were discussing at the time, but the words are no less fitting here.

Big hug to you and your friend.

Sarah said...

oh, that poor woman.

praying for her. and for you as you try to comfort her...

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Everyone has already said it all. Just being her "sister" is everything. Listen....
Tell her we all hug her. :)

Jamie Dawn said...

How sad for her. A broken heart has so many levels and ramifications. I think your steadfast friendship is the most valuable thing you have to give. No words will be the magic fix, but loving encouragement will help her get through this hard time.

Coffee Bean said...

You are an excellent friend and the kind of friend I would want to help me get through something like that. Just being there for her is all you can do.

I'm being horribly lazy and posted interview questions you can pick from on my blog.

This post and your concern for your friend really touched me.

Shrinky said...

Knowing you are there to listen, offer unconditional support and give as much tlc as her poor broken heart can bear, will go a little way towards grafting the scalding gaping loss over some.

Other than that? Just let her grieve, in order to go, it needs to come out hon.

ps. Congrats on a well-earned mention in Post of the Day.

Chapati said...

Saw you on POTD.

*Hugs* much hugs!

You're doing all the right things. Being there for her, letting her say whatever she wants to say...just listening

Just make it clear that she can say anything to you, absolutely anything, and that you'll always be there for her.

Oh, and no matter how strong and understanding she is usually, right now she's hurting, so if you are going to miss and appointment let her know why...

I think another good thing to do is distraction, having fun. Remind her she can have a lot of fun without him. At first it will feel like 'that's not the point, I was betrayed' but eventually time will heal...

Merisi said...

What weasel, not even the courage to tell her in person. I hope your friend gets over him quickly, life's too short. Luckily, she has you, you are such a good friend!

OHmommy said...

Oh gosh, is there a way to heal a broken heart? I am so sorry to hear that someone's heart is crying.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

I'm so sorry...for her grief and pain and for the heartache you are sharing with her.

Carmi said...

I think you answered your own question: Sandi...you just have to be there. We're going through something very tragic in our community - a friend's suicide, a wife and three young kids left behind.

We never know if we're doing the right thing in stepping forward to be there for her. Are we being too intrusive? Bothersome? Or is this what she needs now?

I just never know. And I keep looking into my heart for answers. Somehow, it works. And from the looks of it, you're doing just fine. She's blessed to have you in her life.

Theresa said...

Be a good listener- don't judge.
Be there, and call her just to say hi, take her out to lunch to the movies, anything so she doesn't dwell- unfortunately the only thing that heals a broken heart is time, sometimes it takes a month or two or five. But with each day she will feel a little better, just be there for her which you are already doing.

RBK's Realm said...

Sandi,
Once again you have written something to which I totally relate. The friendship of two women who are REAL friends and one standing beside the other in her moments of agony.

That good sister could be me a few years ago. I am sure many of us have been there. Without going into details, I can tell you from experience that she will have to go through the pain- going out with others does not help. It is a farce but time and the support of friends who listen and listen and tell the broken-hearted one that she is still special and has a lot to offer the right man helps. It may seem that she is not listening right now but trust me, these morale boosters do seep in the subconscious because they are true. Just continue being there for her and don't put a time limit as everyone heals at their own pace. Believe me. I have been there.

Sending her and you both positive energy and love

Sally said...

I'm sure your sister is finding comfort in knowing you are there for her. I have no answers; my daughter is going through a divorce now, she knows I'm here and that's about all I can do at the moment. (He wasn't Ben's dad).

Take care, Sandi. You're a good woman. ((HUGS))

imbeingheldhostage said...

I don't think you can heal someone's broken heart-- just be a soft spot to land. That's so sad. I'm ready to start swinging and I don't know either of them.

Ching Ya said...

Upon seeing so many comments laying ahead, I suppose you've got quite alot of advice you could listen to.
You're doing a great job with her by being an angel for willing to be with her when she needed you, and that's all you could do. It's a process she needs to live through, and if possible, I think praying for her/with her is a great comfort as well. Time is the healer. Give her something positive to do; or a book to read.

Hope she'll be able to recovered from the sadness soon enough. You take care too.

i beati said...

I just went through the same thing with my very first boyfriend- he pushed me aside for a younger woman of 60- hit in the head twice by that guy-but it still hurts a lot.I feel for your sister,and you are spot on- a certain age-a lot of history goes into the pkg.Loved your tribute above sandy

Anne Vis said...

What a heartbreaking story! And how wonderful that you are there for her!
After the first days of tears, it may be helpful to do some energy work: cut the ties, exchange energy, call back split-off parts of the soul ... If you don't do these things yourself, it may be helpful to find an aura- and chakra healer ...
Warm wishes,
Anne

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