“Be gentle with your heart.”
I looked at her in silence, and thought “what does that even mean?” I’ve been a mom and a wife for so many years. I’m accustomed to thinking about everyone’s needs first, and mine last. How do I be gentle with my own heart?
Her words felt like balm to my broken heart, though, and I started thinking about what that might actually look like.
So I left work early to fit in a leisurely walk on the beach before dark.
I bought fresh flowers for my dresser top.
I avoided the restaurants that contained painful memories.
I turned down invitations to events that would be difficult to attend.
I spent every last dime of the Victoria’s Secret gift card my sister gave me, filling my top drawer with lacy pinks and reds and purples.
I chose to watch light comedies and avoided the dramas.
I found a blanket at a thrift shop, packed a cooler with cheese n crackers, fruit, M&Ms and beer and settled on the beach for a solitary picnic at sunset.
I took the long way home, driving with the top down and the music up.
I journaled my confusion and pain.
I let the tears roll down my cheeks whenever they surfaced, and learned to exhale instead of swallowing the tightness.
I bought waterproof mascara and eyeliner and carried extra Kleenex.
I unfriended friends that no longer felt like friends.
I let myself feel my feelings. Not trying to push them away or shake them off.
I learned to admit “I can’t handle this.”
I gave myself time to grieve.
I set aside my fitness plan and only worked out when I felt like it.
I drank my sunrise coffee on the back patio so I could watch the birds flit and chirp and sing.
I explored new shops, tried out new running trails, drove different routes.
and slowly I could feel a difference in me. a newness. a lightness. my heart healing. and I smile now because of it.