A message from the head of the Broken Heart Committee


Welcome to the broken hearts club!

There should really be a club, or at least a welcoming committee, for something as monumental as this. You’d think within a world that gives us genius little smart phones and turn-by-turn navigation we’d have created some sort of community for the ones who just need to hear these words after their heart is gouged out, “Hey, you’re here. You’ve arrived. Don’t be ashamed. You’re in for quite the journey back to wholeness. It gets better. I promise. You’re not alone, toots. You’re not alone.”

I’d give just about anything to stand outside your door right now with some brightly colored poster that has your name plastered on the front of it with all the 4th grade glitter your little heart can handle, as if I was welcoming you home after a long trip. As if I were the first one to scoop you up when the wheels of your lovesick plane touched down on the runway and you found yourself crashing hard into reality.

It feels awful, right? If you’re feeling run over, ramshackled, desperate, lonely, confused– a cross between being hit by bus with all your ex-girlfriends on it and having all your organs spill out of you like a pinata that was cracked open by all your ex-boyfriends– then you are right where you need to be. Congratulations, you’re in the center of it. You think something broke inside of you but you’re still kicking like a champ. It’s going to be painful for a while but this is life handing you a spare moment to suck in and say, “Yea, this is ok.”


But once again, welcome.

You’ve become fully, fully human. You’ve learned the gritty secret about love that the movie screens, and romance novels, and conversations with best friends over coffee could never prepare you for: It hurt sometimes. It guts you out sometimes. It makes you lonely. It tramples you like a thousand zebras, lions, panthers, gazelles skipping over Mufasa and coming straight for you.

You’ll go through phases. A broken heart is an ever-evolving train wreck of emotions that often gets accompanied by not wanting to eat, shower, or brush one’s hair. At one point you won’t want to change your clothes or leave the house. At another point you’re going to want to take a chainsaw to couples holding hands out in the road. You’ll convince yourself you’ll never slow dance again, never date again, never cuddle again. You’ll wallow like a champion and ugly cry at random times in the middle of the grocery store when that song that always reminds you of the November you had together comes on. No one in aisle 6 is going to understand what forehead kisses meant to you, boo.

You’ll feel the most bitter a) when your friends are experiencing happiness b) when any Reese Witherspoon movie comes on c) when you see some ridiculously plotted-out marriage proposal in someone’s Facebook stream that was clearly planned by some subhuman Pinterest freak d) when you’re going home alone. OOF, that is the winner.


We all go home alone sometimes. It won’t kill you. It won’t destroy you. It won’t pummel you the ground. You’re going home alone at some point. It’ll be the hardest thing to do when it’d be so much easier to call. Or shoot over a harmless text. Or send an email. Or show up at their door. But you’re going home alone. Swallow. Breathe. We’re moving on.


You might not ever see the person again.

I just want you to know that could be the best reality. It’s just this: the last thing I want for you to believe is that closure is resting and waiting in a conversation with someone else. We fool ourselves into thinking that we can never fully let go, and move on, and push forward until we just get those final words out. And so we wait wistfully for the day when we meet again in coffee shops or by the roadside after seventeen years. Chances are, he isn’t gonna write you letters every day for 365 days. Chances are, he isn’t building the house with the wraparound porch for you and growing some barbaric beard that screams “Hey girl, I was too depressed by the thought of your face that I never picked up a razor.” The strongest thing you might ever learn to do is write your own love letters and build your own dang house.

Thought to ponder: If our chance to move on was always in the grips of someone else’s hands, what kind of story would that be? If you’ve got final words, just release them now. Final words are floating everywhere in the atmosphere, dear. Sometimes you just need to say them out loud to the night air when no one is around to hear you but the trees and whatever you believe is steering the stars above you. Sometimes that’s the best kind of closure you can get. It might not be fleshy, and it might not end with some regretful kiss and a Dawson’s Creek speech in the middle of field when rain is pelting down on you, but it will keep you always, always, always as the messenger and never the maker.

The worst mistake I ever made was believing that I was some kind of maker. When I got that first broken heart, I thought I got to be the divine fixer. That I could make him take me back. That I could make him love me more. That I could make us better.  I can’t make much of anything though. It only made me more embarrassed with myself to try. Beyond making choices and making progress, I can’t make much of anything. But I could move on. I could let go.


There will be forks in the road.

You can probably already see them in the distance. Parties you might see one another at. Chances to tumble back into one another recklessly. If you aren’t really careful, it’s always going to feel like Shoots & Ladders. The ladders get harder and harder to climb when you lose so much breath from propelling back down those shoots though.

When I was sixteen years old, my best friends and I used to hold “Closure Ceremonies.” If you can imagine four girls sitting around in a circle smashing necklaces and teddy bears to bits with hammers until the voice boxes that said “I love you” fell out from their stuffed guts, then that was us. We were lovesick girls with anthems of bravery within us.  We burned love notes. We screamed and cussed a bit. And then we held one another. We didn’t give answers. We didn’t act like a broken heart was the oldest thing in our books. We acknowledged that it felt like all the oxygen had fallen out of the sky and then we held one another under the stars.

The stars are reliable unlike any other thing in this crazy world. Leaves fall off the trees. Snow melts. Rain washes away all the things we wrote on the pavement. But the stars are relentless to shine. Relentless, relentless, they pull us right up there into the stories of their constellations. All their little dips & belt buckles & milkier ways.

Tonight, that’s where I want you. Not hurling yourself at your old lover’s car or standing by their window to cry to the sound of their snoring. Just find the stars. Even if you and I can’t forge through the emptiness together, get to a place where you can see the stars. I’ll get there too. Bring a blanket. Bring hot chocolate, or a coffee, or whatever makes you feel warm. Bring a sweatshirt that he didn’t give to you. And bring a friend if you can. Tell them you don’t want to be alone in all of this. They should either understand or you should find a better friend.

Just lay there. Real still. I am going to whisper something that’s going to make you wince a bit: There is someone out there who you gave secrets & stories & weaknesses & strengths to. They didn’t disappear when your heart cracked open. They’re still out there with parts of you jangling in their jean pockets like spare change.

But guess what?

You’re still here.

And you’re whole.

And not a single stitch of you is missing, even if you can’t possibly believe it’s true.

You lost every little thing you needed to lose when you first got that broken heart of yours. It came right off of you just like it was supposed to, in the way that sequins shake loose from the costumes of ballerinas and feathers fall off the wings of the birds that are finally flying southward bound for home. Don’t you ever give someone the permission to think they took away the vital parts of you. Don’t you ever give someone the permission to they took away part of your completion.

You are the start to your story and you are the finish.

You lost nothing down this road that couldn’t be renewed, restored, remade.

You’re whole. You’re whole. You’re whole. Consider this a lesson in getting stronger.

Baby, baby, welcome. You’re fully, fully human today.

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Filed under Break ups

43 responses to “A message from the head of the Broken Heart Committee

  1. Thank you… I’m not in the midst of heartbreak right now, but I’ve been there and I wish I could have read these words then… Will definitely be remembering this post in case it’s needed in the future :) <3

  2. I get you but it’s Hard to move to a future you already asked the post man to deliver into someone else hands,who never gave you even a penny to send that gift to them

  3. Anne

    This is beautiful Hannah! You are truly a gifted writer! I also am not stuggling with a breakup but wish your words of wisdom were there when I was. You have a way of letting us know we matter and we do not need anyone else to make us whole. We have everything we need within us but how easily we forget.

  4. You are able to express the feelings that we all know, but can’t put into words. You always know what to say and how to say it in the most heart wrenching way possible.

  5. usually your posts leave me in tears, but through reading this one, I’ve been given the courage to wipe away the tears that have been streaming down my face since 3.30am. in the past twelve hours I’ve experienced more heartache than my 16 years and 9 months have seen yet. i have been feeling anything and everything less than whole. this post came to me in the midst of the heartache and drew me in and brought me peace. and it brought me strength. strength to carry on with this heavy heart. strength to look ahead at the rest of this new month with hope. because i am not as broken as i thought. i am whole. i didn’t become whole on my own, i have jesus to thank for a lot of that, but i am whole. thank you for being my encouragement in the wee hours of the morning. thank you for understanding. I’m heading up to the roof now. I’ve got my blanket and I’ve got my hot cocoa. its 5am and the stars are beautiful. and this is how I’m starting out my day. and i am going to make this day wonderful.

  6. Angie

    I just went through a divorce after 16 years of a great marriage. I lost my best friend to infidelity and it absolutely devastated me (and my kids). Its been almost a year and everyday I am better.
    Thank you so much for this – reading these things are such an inspiration – especially from someone that is so clear and ‘right on’ in their writing.

  7. I cried reading this. I just got “friend zoned”. I know, it doesn’t sound too bad but I’ve loved him for 6 years. And he led me to believe he loved me. I think the part that really got to me was when you said you can’t be a maker. That really hit home.

  8. Pretty Little Songbird

    This is amazing. I read your blog for the first time today and I can honestly say that I think what you are doing is fantastic. Thank you for being so HONEST and inspirational to women everywhere. God Bless… we really could use more like you out there in the world. ♥

  9. Emily

    New to your blog. Thank you. Beyond measure. Thank you.

  10. Pingback: A Message From the Head of the Broken Heart Committee | Allowing true love. Books and Subliminal Audios

  11. Pingback: A Message From the Head of the Broken Heart Committee | Gays: rejected, bullied, and movin on

  12. this is flawless. thank you.

  13. Deb

    Thanks! I needed that!

  14. kero

    hannah- as I read this I literally sobbed. your beautiful word were exactly what I needed today. you have an amazing ability to touch peoples heart so sincerely it feels like youre here going through the heartbreak too

  15. Sherri

    After 23 years of marriage at the age of 54, my husband ended our marriage by text message. First though he brought his 35 year old girlfriend to our home to meet me. Your words are the first to bring me comfort. Thank yo, thank you, thank you.

  16. Love it, as always. So incredibly beautiful.

  17. Reblogged this on The Secretive Heart and commented:
    Let this speak to the locked up, secret parts of your heart. Let it heal you.

  18. Pingback: The Secretive Heart

  19. SO beautiful. You’re an amazing writer

  20. Missy

    My ex broke up with me two weeks ago tomorrow on our 6 month. I felt we were doing great and progressing as a couple, he obviously didn’t. I’m almost 30 and have had my fair share of heart breaks and it gets easier i know, it just sucks being here in this space right now. I appreciate all you said and it will help me and others move forward and fall in love with themselves! thanks!

  21. Darcy

    You are such a wonderful writer! You capture all the emotions of being brokenhearted perfectly. It does get better, and you will become full again. One of my friends on FB shared a blog post of yours titled: “Just a Tiny Dancer. A blue jean baby. Pretty Eyes with a pirate smile.” I am so glad she did! That post was fantastic and I enjoyed reading this one. Keep up the awesome work!


  22. Megan

    This is beautiful. Thank you.

  23. I found myself wanting to share this with everyone I know who has had their heart broken – which is of course everyone. So good.

  24. Alena

    Hannah, I am completely in awe of your writing. So, so beautiful.

  25. Sydney

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  26. D in Austin

    Wow. So happy to have found this blog. My husband walked out after 21 years of marriage (and a 7 year old). I had been with him since I was 14 years old, the only man I was ever with. I would still be married too, my vows meant everything to me. Him, not so much. The last 1.5 years have been so hard, but I am feeling the strongest of my life right now. I am so glad to feel better and I do know that you can heal. I had those days when I didn’t think I could take the pain and it still hits me now, but I am so much better. I even considered antidepressants, but am happy to report that I worked through it without the help of medication. Nothing wrong with that, just didn’t want him to be the reason I had to take a pill. He is remarried now and is oblivious to how much pain and hurt he caused. If he really owned it, he wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. Anyway, I love your writing and wish I had found this sooner. You have gained a fan today.

    Take care,
    D in Austin, Texas

  27. nazia khatun

    WOW and i feel all them feelings of anxiousness set in and fly out…you are one heck of a writer this is ……… i dont even have a word to describe it. .
    I feel like you just captured my own heart break and feeling of whole again slowly but surely

  28. ashley

    Thank you for this. I just got my heart annihilated two weeks ago. added to the fact that I’m in a gut wrenching depression. But everyday I come and re read this article and it makes me feel less like I wanna lay across a train track. I have to take every day 5 minutes at a time to get through it. But sometimes those 5 minutes are re reading this article and IT HELPS. Thank you for putting hope into words. a thousand times Thank you.

  29. There are songs that remind me of almost everyone with whom I have ever been involved. You know you’ve recovered when you hear his or her song and you don’t emotionally respond and you rationally recognize all the reasons he or she was not right for you. It’s awesome :)

  30. Cheri

    Thank you for this reminder that I am not empty. I feel now, where I did not before.

  31. Hannah,

    You said this beautifully, a month before you came to USA, a relationship that I thought would last forever ended. These words you’ve written are exactly the words I have had to say to myself over and over again. Much love, girlfriend. Keep writing these words of hope to remind us broken hearts that even with a broken heart, we’re still whole. Much love, my dear.

  32. justbeingalish

    I’m not really sure how I stumbled upon your blog, but this was the first that I saw and I was immediately taken in by the first sentence. I’ve been in love with D since I first met him, that was 11 years ago today. And the first time we broke up, it was gut wrenching to say the least. We are back together now but we still aren’t quite where we were before and the thought of losing him again is something I think about often. Reading this makes me a little more prepared if it ever happens again. Thank you for your words.

  33. this is absolutely heartbreakingly, heart strengthen beautiful. You are stunning, you’re words are amazing. THANKYOU !!!!

  34. THIS!!!! I needed to hear this more than I can tell you right now. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  35. Douglas

    It seems like this was intended for women, but you pretty much touched on everything I’ve been feeling too. Recently my girlfriend of several years broke up with me, and it’s been hard to say the least. I miss her, and I love her still. I wish she could see that. But sometimes, as much as it hurts, I guess there’s nothing you can do. So thanks for this, it makes me feel a bit better about everything.

  36. Douglas

    It seems like this was intended for women, but you pretty much touched on everything I’ve been feeling too. Recently my girlfriend of several years broke up with me, and it’s been hard to say the least. I miss her, and I love her still. I wish she could see that. But sometimes, as much as it hurts, I guess there’s nothing you can do. So thanks for this, it makes me feel a bit better about everything.

  37. “The stars are reliable unlike any other thing in this crazy world. Leaves fall off the trees. Snow melts. Rain washes away all the things we wrote on the pavement. But the stars are relentless to shine. Relentless, relentless, they pull us right up there into the stories of their constellations. All their little dips & belt buckles & milkier ways.” It was the waves of the ocean that healed me.

  38. I have never been in a relationship, but my heart has been broken. It was God who saved me.

  39. I first commented when you posted this and said I’d remember in case of future heartbreak… Well, I remembered and I am so grateful for your words, Hannah, because the heartbreak I am living feels like it might kill me. So thankful knowing I am not alone in this mess.

  40. I found this post over a year ago when I desperately needed it. No one in aisle 6 could possibly understand…I needed these words then and now, so thank you. Probably my favorite blog post in all of life.

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