Blessings & the barren places: What I know of letting go.


With permission, I have posted the email below.

Dear Hannah, 

I just discovered your blog like a week ago, I couldn’t even tell you how it happened, but I definitely needed it. You probably get a million of these emails all the time, but I am writing you because I am just in the worst place right now. I feel like I have the world’s hugest broken heart, and I’m constantly fighting it, day after day. 

My love story, if it were still intact, was truly a fairy tale. In short, I reconnected with my best friend from middle school over the internet, we quickly became best friends again, 6 months later decided to date, had our first kiss 2 months later on a New Year’s vacation, and eventually he decided to quit his job to move and be with me in the town where I am currently finishing graduate school. He got here, he struggled to find a job, realized that he still had a lot of self-searching and passion finding to do, and he left this town, and left me.

Rationally, I understood it all. It’s been about 2 months now, and I’ve always understood his reasons. But he never said that he didn’t love me, and he still hasn’t said that, but there is NO WAY that he is coming back right now, and perhaps not ever. You said in one of your more recent posts that when you had your first heartbreak you tried so hard to fix things and bring him back, and in a lot of ways I feel like that is where I am right now. And I AM becoming more embarrassed of myself as time goes on. But it is so so incredibly hard to let go. Especially because he truly was my very best friend, long before we started dating. Anyway, you don’t need to write me my own letter or anything, but I feel like you have to have written something that explains how you let go. And if you could somehow help me, I would really appreciate it. Because I am just a horrible wreck right now.

With gratitude,

K

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 8.35.15 PM

Dearest K–

Words fail.

As I get deeper and deeper into the trenches of what it means to be a writer, I realize more regularly that words fail. They’re never going to be what I truly want them to be. I can’t morph them and make them into tables and chairs. I can’t turn my words into a plane ticket to fly across the states and just sit down beside you. If I had my way, my words would be a canopy. A canopy of white silk, or something very pretty like that. And we could sit for hours & hours & hours together. And I wouldn’t talk if you didn’t want me to. I don’t have all the answers anyway. But we could just sit there. And you would not have to feel so alone.

The truth is, you aren’t alone. It’s hard to swallow that. It’s hard to admit that. Because last night you fell asleep remembering someone who is like a ghost to all the parts of you. And that will make a person feel very lonely. Very lonely and very alone. But count me as one of the people, one of the people who just said a prayer for you. And I drove around my neighborhood breathing in your story and listening to music I think you would like. And then think about all people who will read this letter next. They’re with you too. We all are. When you showed in my inbox, I whispered to you, “Babycakes, you are so far from alone. Let’s tackle today together.”

I am not coming to you as a writer.

I’m not coming to you as an expert or some advice columnist. I’m simply coming to you as a girl who once heard her first “I love you” on a Christmas night and it sounded like a cross between Elvis and angels. A girl who once thought she could give someone a yellow sweater– a dumb little yellow sweater– so that she could call him up from time to time and ask if he was still taking care of that sweater. She thought that maybe there was a way to tie herself to people like him forever. That’s who is writing this letter. I’ve turned the page over to her.

People will tell you in tandem and in chorus: Let him go. Let him go. Let him go.

You don’t have to.

That’s the best wisdom I have: You don’t have to let him go. You don’t have to let him go until you are the ready one.

For the longest time it hurt me to do anything but hold on. And maybe that’s silly, and maybe some would call that weak, but I am human and I won’t pretend like I could do much of anything else at that time. He was my best friend. He was my safer spot. He was every bit of “I want to put you inside of box and keep you there forever and believe we will never need to change. That’s where I want you to stay.” When they told me to let him go, I wasn’t ready.

I did all the basics. I got rid of his Facebook. I deleted his number. I got rid of his clothing. But if someone tries to tell you those are the ways to let someone go, don’t listen. It’s not true. That’s just the introductory steps within an instruction book that doesn’t exist. The real work is how you’re gonna learn to sew a song out of all the broken music notes inside of you.

I kept the memories of him tucked in my oversized pockets. I turned on “our song” just to cry and feel something. I wrote him letters from time to time, though I never sent them. I carried thoughts of him with me. To coffee shops. To libraries. To meetings and walks home at night. Every part of me was an anthem of not being ready to let him go and there was some sort of strange freedom in realizing I didn’t have to. I could hold on. I could hold on. And eventually, eventually, my fists would grow tired from all the clenching and I would let it go.

It would happen naturally. It would happen melodically. And though I could never control all the left hand turns I wanted him to take when he went right & right & right, loving him– and learning how to unlove him in a way that made me saner– was in my control.

At the crux of that breakup that ripped through me with the strength of an Alabama Roll Tide, I trudged through the mess of me with Elizabeth Glibert by side. As she traveled through the lands of Bali & India & Italy, I traveled with her and I swallowed parts of her wisdom like Kinder Bueno. Her memoir kept me stitched like a sweater quickly gaining holes that needed constant patching. And at one point she wrote this. And it changed the game for me. Read it carefully, my friend. This is a game changer.

“But I love him.”

“So love him.”

“But I miss him.”

“So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, then drop it. You’re just afraid to let go of the last bits of David because then you’ll be really alone, and Liz Gilbert is scared to death of what will happen if she’s really alone. But here’s what you gotta understand, Groceries. If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this guy, you’ll have a vacuum there, an open spot – a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with the doorway? It will rush in – God will rush in – and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed. So stop using David to block that door. Let it go.”

There it is. There it is. Part one: the sending off. Part two: more love than you ever dreamed.

When I loved him, when I really loved him with my whole frame and being, I wanted the world for him. I wanted laughter. I wanted joy. I wanted success. I wanted everything he wanted since he was a little boy. A heartbreak. Two people changing. Life throwing around unfavorable circumstances– these should never be the things that make us stop wanting goodness for someone we once loved with our whole body. That’s maybe childish. That’s maybe the first step in loss but not the final landing point. Who wins in that case? No one. No one.

You need to reach the point in your steps, and your conversations, and your everyday everything’s where you are ready to wish him light and love and then let him go. Not bitterness. Not hurt. Not questions. Not a quest for closure. It probably won’t be a final thing. It will probably be an everyday, every time he comes to your mind, kind of thing. It might still hurt. It might still sting.

But when he pops in, say hello. Wish him well. Say a prayer. Ask for blessings to go straight to him. Then let it go, let it, let it go.

You could keep him there forever.

You really could. They make movies out of those kinds of stories. The “ones who got away.” But your fists clenching rocks of what-used-to-be eventually defeats the purpose of two hands that were created to throw blessings in barren places.

Stop looking at the world and look down at your own two hands. People will tell you how to drown your tears in chocolate ice cream. They will tell you how to get bitter and seek revenge. They will tell you how to get smaller and smaller and burn the belongings of another to ashes to make you feel like you have “let them go.” But no one spills out the secretest secret of them all: To let things go, really let them go, open up your hands and bless others by the fistful.

You get decide if you want to be the empty cup that needs refilling or the full pitcher that overflows into all the other cups. That’s on you, babycakes.

But I know there is something, wadded & beautiful & glittering inside of you, that would give anything to kick down doors to let other people in. And I think you should go with that. Go with that dream of yours to be a blessing. To help someone. To open up your eyes to how God would use you in the moment. I don’t know about you, but I believe in a God who lets us use our tears to harvest. He lets us use our pain to make a feast for someone else. Don’t wait for the sadness to clear to be the blessing you’ve always wanted to be. I’m afraid you’ll miss out. I’m afraid you will miss out.

When I finally learned to open up my hands, it was all there waiting for me. And I thought of that boy– the one I have filled with too much light and love for his little lungs to handle– and I pictured him smiling. Because he had a great smile. And I stopped regretting how we broke. Because look at me now. I’m standing. Look at me now. I’m more stretched, and brilliant, and whole than I ever was before. And because of him, my hands throw blessings in barren places.

Open up your hands, babycakes. They were made to do the same.

hb.

 

I would appreciate if we could keep the conversation going for K. Please post a comment of blessing, a lesson, a mini love letter. Whatever you please. She is reading and I know she would appreciate it too.

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88 Comments

Filed under Letting Go

88 responses to “Blessings & the barren places: What I know of letting go.

  1. When I had my heart broken, I went through all the normal feelings of despair, anger, and desperation to get him back. But soon I learned to control those feelings. I kept pictures of us, and never burned anything. When my friends asked me why, I told them “those are happy memories for me. When I see the pictures I don’t get sad, I remember the way I felt then.”
    It’s easy to try and get rid of everything that reminds you of someone, but that’s not going to help. It’s been over a year for me and I still rarely go a day without thinking about him once. It is important to keep the happy memories as moments that shaped who you are today. He will be a part of your past no matter what, so why not let it be a happy phase that ended instead of a life shattering moment?
    Some people told me to move on right away, but I couldn’t. I wouldn’t have been being true to myself and it wouldn’t be fair to whoever I moved on to. So I’ve taken quite a bit of time to rediscover myself as an individual, and I think I am finally ready to be vulnerable again. Your healing process may take longer than mine, or maybe not. But remember- it is your healing process, not anyone else’s.

  2. Ella

    Sweet Hannah (Like myself finding your blog at just the right moment is the KINDNESS of a loving Universe don’t loose that Sweet K (this is a gift). While our stories vary in degree at 49 I find myself feeling your pain (because it mirrors mine). My love.. my friend.. the one (I thought) was the one for all time, that FINALLY it was happening for me.. was wounded in Afghanistan Nov last year He suffered traumatic brain injury (he did not die which I am so AMAZINGLY grateful for), but he did lose ALL memory of us.. of me.. of the love and life that had just begun. His life is so different now.. who I am is so different now. I have not been able to let go.. I barely remember to breath.. It has been over a year now. Friends and daughters (all meaning the best for me), have encouraged that I date.. that I move on… and that just makes me want to hold on tighter.. What I am finding.. Is self care. Radical SELF ACCEPTANCE. (And I have been without realizing it.. doing just this Hannah your words your heart are the affirmation I needed today.. Beautiful Beautiful Miss K.. like one of my daughters I want to scoop you up and hold you close, stroke your hair and tell you from the deepest part of my mamas heart.. It is going to be alright. (because I believe this)! I know that good things are coming (even if it is just radical self acceptance.. loving yourself).. that is where it begins. for us all. What I am discovering is there is not sealing back up my broken heart.. but the cracks? they are better for letting in the light. I will continue to hold you in the light my beautiful ones.

    • Bernadette

      Ella I cannot imagine that type of living lost in a sense. But like Hannah has reminded us all is to open those fist and the hands of giving. I know that you will find that with others too that are serving and need those friendly letters while overseas.

    • Wow! I am a veteran myself and your story brings a tear to my eye. How cruel and unforgiving that kind of thing can be. I have you in my prayers.
      Larry

  3. K,

    If ever there were a moment when I wanted to scoop up a person and give them the world’s biggest squeeze, it would be now.

    I want you to know that Hannah, our sweetsweetsweet Hannah, is right. You are not alone. In fact, you’ve never been farther from it.

    K, I want you to know that I read these words from a chair in a dull grey cubicle and I sit here and ugly cry over the realness they paint.
    I want you to know that heartbreak is real and it hurts and it isn’t quick.
    I want you to know that I am walking along side you – missing a him who walked away, who chose someone else over me, who left me right after I moved to his city to start our lives together – finaly. I want you to know that I am there too.

    And I want you to know that it’s become a sweet, sweet spot.

    K, you do what you need.

    Hold on.
    Press on.
    March on.
    Get on.

    But don’t for a second think that this isn’t a part of your story. Don’t for a second think that this isn’t swelling your heart up with all. the. love. in this big, big world and is leading you to a place where you can dump it out on another. Don’t for a second think that you need to store up that love or that you can’t use it now.

    K, you are not alone.
    K, you are loved more than you know.
    K, you are stronger than the strongest most burliest most bulkiest man alive.

    K, one day, it happens. One day the world changes.

    One day you see him as a catalyst to this grand life that is literally RIGHT IN FRONT of your own two feet.

    I praypraypray that day happens for you RIGHT when you need it to.

    Until then: hold, press, march, get.

    But remember, you are not alone.

    Love, hugs, prayers and pride – your sister,
    Diana

  4. Bernadette

    The time of healing began the moment the first tear fell. But Hannah reminds us all the power of healing is in your own time and own way. Your normalcy of all this will be determined by you. As “sisters’ today we all hold in our hearts your needs and prayers. You are more courageous than you know. Sharing your most private time with us will help us too to move on in our way with open hands.

  5. MAJ

    You don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow.
    I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow.
    No one knows what is going to happen tomorrow.

    Everyone that comes into our lives changes our story. We are the sum of all our experiences and all our interactions with others. Like a t-shirt quilt made out of someone’s old marathon shirts. Maybe some of those races were hard and maybe you puked at the end. Maybe others were spiritual experiences that made you feel physcially and mentally bulletproof. But they’re all pieced together there in that quilt, and none of those little pieces tells the whole story alone.

    You know how you are feeling right now. Right this second, right this very instant, you know what you are feeling. Or maybe you don’t. But I can tell you this: you CERTAINLY don’t know how you are going to feel tomorrow.

    Or the next day.

    Or next year.

    Sometimes the things and people that come into our lives don’t change us until long after they’re gone. Sometimes what we know or remember about a person or experience doesn’t reveal itself for a long time. Sometimes it doesn’t reveal itself, ever. And sometimes, it’s the best thing that ever happened to us.

    Look toward that unknown. Look toward it even though it’s big and scary and it might even blind you. Yes, it might be the scariest thing you ever faced.

    But it might also be the best thing that ever happened to you.

    Believe better days are coming, and they will. It doesn’t matter whether that’s because better days actually come, or because you choose to make the days that come better.

    Love,

    MAJ

  6. Marissa

    K,
    I don’t have a story to tell or great advice to give because I am not very good at it. But relating and if I wrote to Hannah, where other people related and read it. Seeing anyone at all write would help me. And that’s why I am writing. For you to see that I’m relating and my heart is going out to you. whoever and where ever you are. I believe your strong and will get through this.

    Honest love,
    Marissa

  7. Janna McCracken

    what I’ve learned from the barren places of my life is…I had found my identity in whoever it was I was trying to let go of. my daddy passed away when I was 13. I was no longer “the pastors daughter”. my mother passed away when I was 23. I was now an orphan. my brother passed away when I was 30. through the process of hurting so deeply I began to shut down emotionally and refused to have such intimate relationships. there seemed to be nothing but hurt caused by such love. love that could NEVER be replaced. but by me building walls I was only hurting myself. the people I’ve listed are just a few of the ones that I’ve been expected to “let go of”. it will never happen. I will NEVER let go of them. I have so many wonderful memories of love. the warmth of my daddy’s lap. my mom being the only one that could sooth and love like a mommy can. by brother always being willing to take me for a ride in his 63 mustang even though I was probably cramping his style. I was 6 years younger than him. but he always welcomed my company. I will never let go. I began to receive healing as the days went on. and through my healing God has taught me to be able to love again. He knows first hand how hard it is to watch someone you love hurt and go through pain and because of that, He can give great healing and touch the most intimate spots of our emotions. i’m 49 now and have a wonderful husband and family. so much I would have missed out on if I “let go” and forgotten what love was really like. I actually missed being loved so much that I was able to open my heart again to love and be loved. K, walk through this process of life that is laid out before you. only you know what your heart is ready for. always follow your heart…not your head or your emotions. both of them will lie to you because they’re very unstable. flowing with the times. being effected by the slightest of events. but your heart is strong and will ALWAYS lead you to the right path.

  8. Kristi

    Hannah’s words are so true. Until I decided that I could be a blessing to others, I was not able to let go of the pain I had been hauling around with me. When I came to that realization, it was easier to let it go than I had imagined it would be. I still pray for the one that hurt me, but have found my peace, reclaimed my confidence & love for myself. I will be praying for you K. you are never alone. Thank you Hannah for sharing.

    • I have decided to transfer my pain into a flower. Something others can use and what can set me free. I must however not let this become a job or just a labor of love, but to really love myself for the good and try to reconcile what I can.

  9. Hannah

    Dear K and Dear Hannah,

    I discovered this blog a month or two ago, right when I needed it. I, too, am in the midst of the worst heartbreak I have ever felt or imagined. I am right there with you, K.

    I have dated many, many people. And being of an open-hearted nature, I imagined each one to be my future husband. None of them worked out, but I was hardly damaged by any of them. But this last one, let’s call him L, was the real thing. The real deal. I had been through the ringer so many times and never even cared because I didn’t even know what I was looking for. But he was it. I finally felt the absolute, utter knowing-ness I had heard about and thought I had experienced. He felt it too. Both of us just Knew that we would spend the rest of our lives together.

    And then something happened. I think it started small, but it led to him pulling away more and more, and the more I reached for him, the bigger the distance between us became. And one night he ended it all and my world felt like it ended too. I cried with a force I had never felt before, and I felt like I would never be okay again.

    So K, I am with you. And Hannah, I am with you. And anyone else who has to pause between these sentences to hold together the pieces of your heart, I am with you too. That’s how I feel sometimes. Like I have to stop what I’m doing to gather all the shards together again.

    It has been almost four months since it happened. I have held on fiercely while trying so hard to let go. I tore down his pictures and put them under my bed. A while later, I finally found the strength to throw them away. I wrote him unsent letters. I am with both of you in making a bit of a fool of myself. I held on to the knowledge that we would HAVE to be together again someday. Things this perfect don’t happen by accident. Don’t just END. Finally, I was told forcibly and coldly, with words like jagged glass, that it will never happen.

    I think sometimes we have to get to the very worst of things before we can come out the other side. Maybe we always have to. On my worst days, I took a little comfort in the fact that all this pain meant that I was healing, that I was moving further and further away from the world ending and closer and closer to a new dawn. And you are too, K.

    I had been placing my happiness and hope in his hands. I felt like my right to joy and self-worth came with the clause that he would give them back to me someday. Like Hannah says, though, we can’t be Makers. I can never make him love me again. All I can do is learn to love myself again.

    It’s funny to read the part of Eat, Pray, Love that changed everything for Hannah, because that line changed things for me, too. I am still working to get the hang of it, and more often than not my thoughts turn to imagining conversations that will never happen and things he’ll never say, but when I can follow Richard’s advice I do feel better, and a sense of peace does fill me and help me.

    My sister is an incredible human being, and one of the things she often says is that humans are amazing because we get better. You and I are going to be all right, K. I promise. We are going to get slowly better and better. You are already better than you were, and so am I. This will not last forever, even though it feels like it right now. Follow Hannah’s advice, and Richard’s advice, and cry or eat ice cream when you can’t do either, but appreciate your own efforts. The fact that you are trying at all, that you got out of bed at all, that you are still here, that means you’re already winning.

    I am sending you and Hannah and L light and love and prayers. We are all going to be all right.

    Love love love love love love love,

    H

  10. HW

    You are so not alone…

    I’ve been there, most of us have been there, we have that best friend who means/meant more to us than anyone else possibly could, and for whatever reason the world didn’t want to keep us together…

    When he choses another person, another town, another anything it stabs through your heart, none of us want to feel that rejection, especially from someone we so care about. But as much as we need him to feel “full” he needs something else for him to feel “full”. Making him stay wouldn’t have helped, he probably would have resented it. You were strong enough to let him go physically, it means you are already strong enough to let him go emotionally.

    You don’t ever have to stop loving him because thats a true love that will never go away. Do what Elizabeth Gilbert tried to do. He will enter your mind always, even at times when you are happy and you don’t think his memory will interrupt it will because he will still be the one you call your best friend and the one you want to share all your experiences with, good and bad. Let him enter…don’t push him away. Give him your love, your light, and your smile because he still deserves that. Then let him go for that moment and give yourself those things.

    You did nothing wrong. You are allowed to hurt but you are also allowed to be happy and to smile. Allow yourself to smile when you see something good.

    Remember that people that don’t even know you have been there, are still there, and wishing nothing but the best for you.

    Best Wishes,
    H

  11. K,
    You are not alone at all right now. I feel your pain. I went through an entire box of tissues crying the other night because a boy wanted to focus on God instead of me. He makes it harder by talking to me every day, and wanting to be best friends, and telling me he still cares about me so, so much. But I still feel so alone even when he calls, because he did break my heart.

    But I promise, letting go will happen. You don’t have to force it to, but it always does. Make sure you keep your head up when you walk down the street because you don’t want to miss something beautiful.

    Keep on keeping on. Smile often. You got this, darling. I’m with you.

    Love,
    Megan

  12. K,
    One small statement that’s gotten me through so many tough situations in my life is this: breathe deep & press in

    It’s not a lot and it can be interpreted differently in every circumstance, but it means so much to me. Taking a deep breath reminds you that your heart and soul and lungs still work, even when the breathing is hard and the pain is deep. Pressing in means facing it – see it, don’t avoid it – and pushing forward – love big and throw blessings into barren places.

  13. When you open your heart and your hands to send thoughts, prayers, love and blessings to those you love as well as those you have lost, “letting go” becomes sort of a moot point. An open heart is unable to grasp and cling. There’s nothing wrong with continuing to love people who leave you. Just remember to keep loving yourself, your friends, your family, your pets, your life and your world all at the same time. And as for the hurt, to quote Eat Pray Love again, “it won’t last forever. Nothing does.”

  14. Gur

    K,
    It was never meant to be. But don’t lose hope because everyone has that love story, that special someone, and he’s waiting for you somewhere. You might not be the right girl for him but you are the ‘right’ girl for someone and i’ll pray that you find him soon :)

  15. Always so inspired by your words…’To let things go, really let them go, open up your hands and bless others by the fistful’

    Dearest K, you are not alone, none of us are…I’m right there with you.

    xoxo,Courtney

  16. Lauren

    K,
    I am so sorry you are enduring this broken heart. There is no pain like heart break.
    My advice is to take it one day at a time, and most importantly, do what is best for YOU. If he is taking this time to soul search and do what is best for him, you need to be doing the same. Hannah, who is one of my closest friends, was there for me when my heart was broken, and she told me something I will never forget. She asked me to take time to discover what made MY heart beat. At the time, I had no idea. It was a difficult time, but I learned a lot about myself and what truly made me happy. You will feel pain, and you will feel sadness and there is no saying when the pain will go away, but all you can do is live one day at a time and do whatever it is that is going to make you smile during those days. If you feel sad, let the sad in. If you feel angry, let the angry in. When you want to smile, don’t feel guilty that you are smiling in his absence. Remember that taking care of yourself is most important.
    Sending a big hug your way.

  17. Madria

    Hi a break up is never easy. When me and chris broken up. It was painful. Never throught someone could hurt me the way he did. We hurt each other so much. When we broke up. I talked to my bestfriend. I wanted him to miss me and want me. As much as I wanted him. Made so major improvements in my life. Then I realized I did not want him back. Sometimes I miss him but in my heart I know I cant go back. In time you will be okay. I am pulling for you. He cant make you or broke you. Only you can do that hugs always

  18. What a beautiful post. That passage from Eat, Pray, Love helped me trudge through a very painful breakup as well. Everyone wants us to “just let go” and we will when it’s time. But until then, light and love is all we have left.

    K-I hope you find the comfort and strength you need during this time. Make sure that when you send him light and love that you send some to your heart and soul as well…

  19. M

    Dear K,

    I have a heartache the size of Texas right now. I can hardly breathe. All I can do is wonder how he could just walk away and shut it down with one phone call. Done. Over. That’s it. Seemingly so effortlessly.

    And yet, here I am in utter disarray.

    Up until I read this, I also felt completely alone. But because of you and Hannah and all of these kindred spirits here, I know I’m not.

    So, I’m going to sit right next to you, and put my arm around you and not say a word. Because I understand that sometimes that’s all you need. You can cry if you need to, and I will to. But I’ll be right here with you.

    You are not alone. You are NOT alone.

    I know with my whole heart that this too shall pass, and we’ll be stronger because of it.

    Peace, love and comfort to you, Dear K.
    ~M

    • M and K –

      I am with you as well. i thought i was past the tears, but then they start again. My love was short-lived, but I thought it was something magic, something I had wished for for so long, something I had kept my heart open for — just in case someone like him showed up. but he wasn’t at all what i thought and tossed me aside with a phone call (from his OTHER, long-term girlfriend).

      My friends got me through, so i would add to the advice here to find those who really love you — who are there for you — and lean on them. Let those who love you be there for you. Let them be angry for you, let them be hurt for you — let them be there. You will find that people do love you just the way you are and, as Hannah says, people who believe you are wonderful beyond words. Because for us, it is not just the loss of a love, it is the loss of a best friend. It is the level of betrayal that we do not understand. As you say, M, they seem to do it so easily — without a thought — and we don’t even get a chance to understand.

      The words here help me know, as I hope they help you know, that we are not alone. That each of us was brave enough to fall in love, that we took the chance. And we can only hope that we make room in our hearts to take the chance again.

      Much love to all here,
      C

  20. I was thinking about writing my own advice here, writing down the ingredients from the recipe that helped me survive my heartbreak.

    But there are so many words here already, saying it how it should be said.

    So I’ll just say that I understand. I’ve sat in your chair as you read this blog with a desperate cry in your heart to find something that will make it easier. I’ve cried the tears that land on your pillow at night, and I’ve squeezed the blankets tight around me hoping that it would make up for the fact that the arms that should have been there instead were gone, and I’ve prayed the same prayers that I imagine you offering up to a God whose heart is breaking for you and I’ve felt that quick pain that digs deep into your gut with a sharpness that makes your breath catch.

    And I’ve also felt joy again, so much joy. And I promise you’ll feel it again too – I promise. Pinky promise. It’s not easy and it seems like it will never end, and to be honest it doesn’t end – but if you open your hands like Hannah says, it morphs into something more beautiful than what it was when you closed your fists so tight around it. And it’s all so damn worth it, because as much as it sucks and as real as the pain is deep down in your gut, love always wins.

    K, I don’t even know you, but I love you with a love that makes me want to squeeze in next to you on your couch in between all the other people here who want to do the same, and I want to squeeze your hand and just sit and breathe it all in with you, so that you would know that you’re not alone.

    My fairytale fell apart in February 2013, and I write about it at my blog nalanidanielle.blogspot.com. I talk about sliding down bathroom walls and crying and crying out and forgiving and not knowing how to get through but doing it anyway, and if reading about my story would help you feel less alone I’d love to share it with you.

    Nalani

  21. Nancy

    At 48, I was where you are. My life, my love, husband and father to my children announced he wasn’t happy, hadn’t been in some time and didn’t want to stay anymore. In fact he was dealing with a lot of stuff (his mother’s illness which was progressing and a terminal diagnosis in his closest uncle, a father figure) external to our marriage and our family, but the pressure was too great. And so he left, both me and our kids, and our life together. Had no interaction for weeks and weeks. It took me years to get through. It’s a gradual process and I had 2 kids I had to be strong for so that they wouldn’t crumble, but there were 3 years of counseling where all I heard was I see the sad, but where’s the angry? I was devastated and stunned to think he could do this. We’d met when I was 21, moved in at 22 and married at 24. He was all I knew.
    Gradually I started finding me again, started remembering things I’d liked before him, like reading and running. I joined a book club full of people who didn’t know me as part of a couple. Started running in a group where I was only me. Eventually days came where I wasn’t so sad, where I was able to function and get by. Then getting by got easier. There were moments of laughter, then more moments of laughter and even some joy. It’s been nearly 5 years and in that time I found me again. I have good days and bad days like everyone, times where I’m giddy and times where I’m sad. It still hurts to see him but at least he’s become a better father to our kids, sees them twice a week. Turns out he had a psychotic break, basically a mental breakdown and is just a different person now, less than. There’s nothing he can offer me that would make that worthwhile.
    Bottom line, feel the pain and move through it. Know that it WILL get better. You are NOT alone. This experience will teach you things about you, one being you’re a lot stronger than you think. You have a huge capacity to love. Protect it but also embrace it. It makes you special, it makes you YOU. And there are people in this life who love you for you. Learn from it, take those scars with you and find your strength. It’s in there, I promise.

  22. Thank you all for your words. It is truly amazing how close we can become through the endless combinations of 26 letters on a screen. Opening up and sharing our pain start our journey out of loneliness and into a rich, real community of loving, caring people. It is so very good to read all your thoughts and for me it is becoming even better to open my broken heart to a friend at church, a neighbor down the street and see their heart open up back to me. Blogging is a rich blessing and discovering the courage to be vulnerable with people in my zip code is blessing on top of blessing. Greeting to you all from Lubbock, Texas.

  23. Dear K, This post and Hannah’s advice brought me to tears. I too have been in your situation. I listened to “our” song just so I could cry. I cried with all my heart, until I literally had no tears left. I punished myself by going over and over every single detail of our time together. I wrote him letters I never sent, I poured my anger onto paper. And then one day I cried a little less and I didn’t need to listen to “our” song. And that’s when I knew, I’d started to let go. But it comes to each of us at our own time. Today I can look back fondly and relive our happy memories without any of the sadness. But coming to this day took time. Just remember you are never alone. There are so many people out there walking the same path, feeling the same pain and wandering if anyone else feels the same. Know that they do and know that in a few years time (sometimes even few months), the jigsaw will make sense and you’ll see exactly why this has happened and why he wasn’t meant to be and what infact the universe has planned for you. Sending you a big virtual hug xx

  24. Devin

    K,

    It has been over 4 years since I lost the one. We were best friends, confidants and partners. However, we got to a point where we simply weren’t going in the same directions anymore. I had to make the decision to walk away from him for my own sanity. It is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It wasn’t that I didn’t love this person anymore. Our relationship simply wasn’t healthy for me anymore.

    As time has passed, the hurt & anger & loneliness has subsided but it still creeps back in when I least expect it. I have dated others but find myself pretty closed up & afraid of being hurt again. I am still going through the grieving process of losing something I thought was going to last forever. I try to always remind myself that all those happy times I remember were great but the reality is there was more bad times than good. I have to remember that I was in love with the potential person he could be; not the person he was.

    I have come to the realization that my heart will ALWAYS have a special little place reserved for him and that may never go away. The passage from Eat, Pray, Love is one of my go-to’s when his memory invades my mind. Sometimes the invasion is a simple memory with a smile reminiscing about a good time from the past. Other times it’s a great big ugly cry releasing some of the emotions welled up in my heart and fears of loneliness. Then, there are some days I simply do not think of him at all.

    Just know this…each day it gets better! Each day you are closer to letting go and being able to let love back into your heart. And EVERY day please remember…you are NOT alone!

    Love,
    Devin

  25. Hannah, thank you so much for this wonderful post. Your sweet words are like honey to my soul. K, I am right there in that place with you. I have tried to for two years to hang on to my relationship with a man I thought was my soulmate. I thought I had to make it work. I thought I could change him. We were married for six years. I couldn’t let go of what I thought we could have had and all that could have been. But I am finally letting go and learning to see the emptiness and aloneness I feel, not as a bad thing but as an opportunity. I have finally let go of all the things of the past and what I could not change. He chose that other things (I won’t go into detail here) were more important and it did lasting damage that destroyed everything I thought we could have had and all that could have been. It hasn’t been easy. I know that lonely empty feeling. But for the first time in my life, I am no longer clenching my fingers around all of that, but I have let go. Now my hands are empty but in a good way. My heart is open to what lies before me. So, I am right there in that place with you, taking hands with you along with everyone else here, moving forward to the better things ahead of us. The best is yet to come. I am standing in front if that open doorway Hannah is talking about and I am ready for it to open to what is ahead. It is no longer an emptiness but an opportunity.

  26. So powerful. So true. Today’s culture pines after our hearts, trying to convince us we deserve more or different than what we are already receiving. I do believe that with the heartache of one door closing, it is actually the screeching of one of the locks on our life’s door unwinding. Heartache can be defeating, but love is never a defeated action. The choice to love is always lingering. And like you said, it’s our choice what we allow our hands to be full of. We may never be on the receiving end of love, but the receiving is always in the giving. Give today. Give tomorrow. Pray to give more love when the nights are stormy on our hearts and when the sun is shining so brightly we can’t even make out the trials up ahead. When we choose to love fully, regardless of the world, love will be returned to us – maybe not by the world, but always by our God.

  27. Oh my. Oh my, oh my, oh my. Such beauty and such heartbreak. Why do they always seem to go hand-in-hand? I think we could all use an open hand, held out to us, wherever we are, however we are. Then we could open our own, drop whatever it is we couldn’t put down, and grasp tightly to the offered one. There are days when that’s all I want, a hand to hold. K, I won’t pretend to understand where you’re coming from. The be so close to something so real and have it go away. I wish I could know what that’s like. But you are strong. If it hurts, let it hurt. It will not destroy you. Let it tell you that you are alive, and when you’re ready, let it fly. And send nothing after but love and gratitude. I don’t know what the world is going to bring along to you. I don’t know what God is even going to bring to me. But I like to hope. There are days when it’s all I have. So, hope. Believe it is all going some place good, and one day you’ll reach there to. I hope you will.

  28. Dear K.
    Your letter echoes freshly and painfully in me and I can truly say I’m so so very sorry your heart isn’t swimming in the happy ending it had hoped for. I’m 6 months distant from my own ending so I can absolutely say that Hannah’s words are good ones to hang your grief on. Yes, it still hurts – I just had another deep cry this morning – but it’s getting better. It really is! I found my laugh again last month – that was an unexpected and beautiful moment for me.
    One thing that has fed me during this time is the realization that this sadness isn’t the rest of my life. It isn’t the rest of your life either. That’s just not the way Life works – it’s bound to the law of hope. Just do what Hannah says. Bless, bless, and bless some more. It WILL come back to you. In the meantime, I’m wrapping my arms around you and wishing you strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
    PS. To all the others who have posted their pain, I wish you the same. May you find a grace and elegance you never thought possible.
    PPS. Hannah, thank you.

  29. Victoria

    I have been there more times than I’d care to admit: heartbroken, desperate, acting to get a reaction, disappointed over and over again when it turned out not to be the reaction I wanted, embarrassed, alone, and so very, very empty. I would hang on to any fiber of the former relationship that I could with tightly clenched fists and a prayer that he would realize the error of his ways. Until one day, I let go. Not of the guy; oh no, I still missed his from awhile. But I let go of trying to control my life. I started looking up for fulfillment instead of looking out. God has a bright, big, beautiful, glittering plan for your life and it will be more glorious that any plan you could envision for yourself. YOU are loved! More loved than you will ever know. This is just all part of the plan, my dear. Sometimes the plan sucks. Sometimes it really, really stinks. And it stings and it scars and it will try to jade you. Don’t let it. Don’t let it dull your sparkle! Instead, lean into the change. Embrace it a little bit and the blow softens. It’s hard. It will hurt for awhile. You will feel the worst right before you fall asleep at night. I used to hate when people would tell me to just move on, as if it were that simple. I won’t lie to you. I won’t tell you that he doesn’t deserve you or that he made the biggest mistake of his life. I’ll only tell you one thing that I know without a shred of doubt – you are already loved. Yes, you. I’ll be praying you.

  30. Samantha

    K,
    Heartbreaks are horrible and sometimes when we care so much we dont know what to do with ourselves. I am the type of person who is very selective when it comes to guys in a way that they have to have something very interesting about them in order for me to slightly open that door for them and give them a chance. I’ve recently experienced a heartbreak but the sad part is I was with this guy for 3 weeks, but within those weeks we spent so much time together that it felt like even longer. He broke up with me cause he didnt know what he wanted in a relationship, i was sometimes agrumentive, and other stuff. After the breakup, i saw him a month later at a matual friend’s bbq (same way how we meet). I thought we could be friendly but i had so much anger in me that I exploded at the end of the night resulting me saying really harsh words to the point that i wished him bad plus whats worse he was about to leave to the army in a couple of days. I did apologize the night before he left, but i never got a reply. Its been five months and I have learned alot surprisingly since that night especially as a person and the fact that i really did and still care about him. Everyday I think about him and want to reach out to him for he is soon about to be back in a month. I know it is not the same or even compares to what your going through and what i wrote wont help you at all. but just know that we share the same feelings of a heartbreak even if the suitations are different. I hope Hannah’s post will help you and she’s right about letting go isnt about burning pictures, deleting a number, and etc., but it is more of an internal thing. It’s a lesson, a part of life, and there’s a door waiting to opened.

  31. Julie

    Hi K, I haven’t read any of the other comments so I hope I don’t completely repeat what others have mentioned. I do want you to know that IT GETS BETTER. But it SUCKS so bad for awhile. You are not yourself right now. You look at yourself and almost don’t recognize the woman you see. You’re saying and doing things that don’t even make sense to you…but they allow you to keep your clutches on what you think you can still sort of control. But you can’t.
    YOU WILL BE YOU again. PROMISE.
    The biggest piece of advice I can provide is, stop focusing so much on letting go and instead, focus on living and growing. When you do that, he will fall away….gradually, slowly,…but eventually. Savor the laughs (however few), feel the beauty of the sunshine on a cold morning, write, cry, talk to your family, shop and blow up your credit card a bit, drink wine, eat french fries, but just try not to go backwards. There is no use in that. Try to stay on the path forward. IT WILL GET BETTER. But you have to feel it all. http://www.fifthandhazel.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/believe.png

    Lots of love….you can do this…jcp

  32. K, I don’t need to know you. I don’t need to be your best friend. I don’t even need to know the details you’ve shared with Hannah and with us. I just need to know that you’ve had your heartbroken. We’re all here for you. We want to help you open up again and feel whole. It’s impossible to forget what you had with him, and I’m not gonna tell you to “remember the good times and smile,” because I know that doesn’t help. It just makes it hurt even more. So take your time. Be hurt. It’s ok. The world will wait for you to be ready. I hope this post finds you in a moment of happiness, even if it’s just for a brief moment. Stay strong, I know you’re a fighter. Believe in yourself and believe in love again. I send warm embraces and hot cups of coffee or tea (whatever your preference) because they’ll help wrap you up in the absence of all of our hugs.

  33. It can be cloudy and dreary for days or weeks or months on end. But the sun still shines on the other side of the clouds. Someday soon it will break through.

  34. Dear K,
    Hannah’s words are so true, but I especially echo the part about holding on before you can let go. Earlier this year, I lost a very special friend. He was the first guy I could really trust and call my friend. There was nothing romantic in our relationship, but there was a sense of realness I had never experienced before. But one summer apart changed that. He was going through a difficult situation and I didn’t know how to be there for him. When the summer ended and classes started up again, he was a different person. I hardly knew him. It’s been 6 months since I’ve seen him, and the last 6 months have been the hardest I have ever lived through. I was reading over some journal entries the other day about the times we had together, and I remember the laughter. I remember the smiles. I remember the hugs.
    And those days were good. They were so so good. Suddenly it hit me: if I hadn’t met him, I would have never laughed all those laughs or cried the tears. Those moments were some of the best of my life, and I wouldn’t have had them if I never met him. I then realized that even though it hurt having him leave, it was better than having him never there. The pain didn’t go away. It still hurts, and it hurts deeply. But it’s starting to fade, and time and Jesus are the only thing that will heal it completely. Don’t be afraid to cry. Tears have a sense of healing in their own way.
    But, darling. You’re gonna get through this. One day the pain stops. Others needing love will come into your life, and you will be able to love them. Don’t build up walls around your heart. The brilliant C.S. Lewis once said “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.” Love is painful, and it HURTS. But, it’s worth it.
    I promise you, it’s worth it.
    My prayers are with you this evening, my sweet friend.

  35. This is a beautiful post on something so bleeding and so raw.
    Nothing can describe when a man walks away from you.

    Hannah is right.

    Words fail.

    I know those promises that he made, I know those dreams you had, and those precious memories that mean something, you hold.

    He loved you.

    Do not deny yourself the truth. Anger and denial of what was true will block your healing.

    He loved you. Why? Because you are worthy of love. Because he saw in you those things he wanted.

    The healing moment for me, was when my best friend and I were sitting on the floor by a toilet, as if all of our memories were being puked into the porcelain bowl, and she said with tears streaming down her face as she mourned the truth.

    “I know you loved him, and I know he loved you. And I know you both could have been together.”

    And that “Could Have” was actually more healing, because denying that it ever existed was denying that I lived and experienced.

    Something in the man I loved was broken. Something in him was incapable of being honest with himself and those around him, so he denied his love for me until it was too late. And even then, denied setting himself free from that love and chained me to it in the process. I loved him. He loved me. But it was broken. And broken things don’t work.

    Broken doesn’t mean it never was or never existed.

    Broken just means that pieces would have to have been glued back together properly for it to have ever worked.

    And there are the men that have cracks and choose to stay in broken pieces out of fear of what it means to look at the shards that fell.

    And there are the men that have cracks and work everyday at putting their broken pieces back together.

    The men that leave.

    The men that stay.

    And in the end, even these words fail to give room for what this experience does to a woman’s heart. But I believe that words have power behind them, and that the broken heart I feel for you, for myself and for all of us women who have been left like this can translate to you as you read.

    With all the love and support in the world

    Amy Grace

  36. Hannah, thank you once again for your healing words. K, I am in your boat as well and it is hard when everyone around us is telling us to move on, because “we want the best for you.” I know they do, but it is still so, so hard. There are no set rules about how we should feel and I totally agree that society gives us this feeling of “you could have so much more!” Celebrate you. Do things that bring you joy, not for anyone else. Sending you love.

  37. K,
    I can’t help but echo everything Hannah wrote to you. My heartbreaks have been different, but I don’t like to rank levels of pain. Pain is pain, and it hurts. Heartbreak is heartbreak, and it hurts.

    I wish I could say I always handled it well in the past. But that would be a lie and there are tons of people who could attest to it. I spent periods of my life being bitter and angry. I let myself wallow in self pity sometimes. I closed off my heart and shut people out (something I still haven’t completely undone). And when I add up all that time hiding in the shadows of my own hurt, I realize how much time I wasted. Time I could have spent basking in the light of the blessings around me, or being that light to someone else. I’ll never get that time back.

    (I’m not saying, “Count your blessings and out on a fake smile because someone has it worse than you and you have no right to be sad.” Because that is STUPID. Of course you have a right to be sad. You have a right to feel however you feel. And someone else “having it worse” doesn’t make you hurt less. Jus because someone else just had his leg chopped in half by a heart rap, doesn’t mean your hand doesn’t hurt when you burn it on the stove. Pain is personal, and you have a right to experience it without being made to feel guilty.)

    What I am saying to you is this: don’t let yourself be overwhelmed and consumed and crushed and diminished by your sadness. Always remember that there is more to you–body and soul–than the sadness. Let it dwell in you for a while if it must, but for heaven’s sake, don’t give it the whole kingdom that is you. You are a marvel, a wonderful creation, a light in this world. Your sadness cannot un-make you beautiful. It can’t steal your muchness.

    So let yourself have a five minute pity party if you need it. Let yourself feel that sting if you have to. And then, wipe your eyes, fix your lipstick, and move on. Find a way to make someone smile. Go carry someone else’s burden for a while. Put the sadness back in its place and resume being the light.

    I found that it was easier to handle pain if I was living for something beyond myself. When I turned my attention away from me and focused on loving someone who felt lonely, or serving someone in need, or just being present with other people, the pain took on a different shape. It didn’t hurt less, but it became something that gave me strength and made me bigger. I got my muchness back. And I found that when I opened myself up to others, the love that filled me up leaked out the cracks of my broken heart and just spilled all over the rest of my world.

    Prayers and sweet thoughts your way, dear.

  38. Darling K,
    It seems so impossible now. That anything could grow from this, when it feels like everything is dying dying dead on the ground. Impossible that this jagged hole in your newly battle worn heart might ever start to stitch itself closed again. Your heart is a real thing, an organ like a lung or a liver. Though you may wish it now, it isn’t one of those pesky parts like tonsils, or an appendix, that can be neatly carved out when it becomes angry and inflamed. Like a broken bone, it can only heal in time. And to rush it, try and force it back together, means that it will never quite heal and be like that bad broken foot that could never fit in a stiletto again.

    So you must take care of it, my sweet girl, and support it during this painfully slow healing process. Let it hope, dream, ache and burn. Examine the hole with a magnifying glass and get familiar with the most painful intimate details of this wound if that’s what you care to do. Because time, cruel and masterful, it the only medicine strong enough to thread the broken edges of your beautiful heart back together again.

    Like any break or burn, you’ll always have a scar. Maybe someday you won’t notice it anymore, but I’d be lying if I said that I don’t still finger mine from time to time like a worry stone, just to be sure it’s still there. Impossibly, I learned to walk again. Impossibly, I can breathe. In fact, I’ve sort of become the master of impossible things. Find a mantra, repeat it until it becomes genuine. When Pigs Fly, I’ll move on. When Pigs Fly, I’ll stay sober. When Pigs Fly, I will build a new life. Thank God for those pigs, darling. They saved my life.

    Lauren Goodkin
    Owner, When Pigs Fly Soap Co.
    http://www.whenpigsflysoapco.com

  39. Juliet

    Just remember his faults and you will be alright. Nobody is perfect and no romance is perfect. It is best he left when he realized he was not the right one for you. Imagine if you had married and had kids it would have been worse for you. You can find someone else. Don’t mop. Go shopping, get a new look, hairdo. Join some community groups like a comedy club or outings group. Distract yourself outdoors. Only go inside to sleep. After one month of this, you will realize you are alright on your own.
    Blessings.

  40. Teresa

    K,
    I can tell you that this too shall pass. Really ( I am old enough to be your mother) BUT feel every ounce of pain, do not stuff it because it does surface in strange ways that will complicate your life when you least expect it. If you want to eat ice cream do it, sleep with his shirt, cry at sad movies,
    whatever you need. This is a death, death of what could have been. Just remember this, God saves the best for the best. And that sweet dear K is you. You have loved. You made memories for you and him. You will do it again, and again, and again. There is so much life and love waiting for you.
    Sending you hugs dear K.

  41. Farnaz

    Dear K
    I can feel your feelings right now with every single word of your email.
    I just want you to know that you are not alone in this journey…I am in the same place, it took two years of medication to let him go
    I want you to be strong and fight for your dreams
    Sometimes you can let him be instead of let him go…in the corner of your heart, he will be, he will exist, but try to accept that he will never come back to you, you will survive
    God will help you,have faith!
    I have a lot to say…you can send me emails, we can talk about our beautiful hearts for hours…filan.far@gmail.com

  42. Stephanie Watkins-Cruz

    Reblogged this on funsizeddreamer and commented:
    An amazing response to such a common tragedy. #heartbreak

  43. nikkifrankhamilton

    Like most of us reading this, I wish I could give you both the biggest hug! When I was in my 20′s I married the man who swept me off my feet. Tragedy struck our lives, and by happenstance I found out he had a girlfriend. The next man in my life was my best-friend, my knight in shining armor. After 3 1/2 years together, we had a bouncing baby boy and were planning our wedding. Tragedy struck again, my best-friend and husband to be died. I wanted to die too. For years I was angry, mad at the world, and God. How dare He take the men I loved away from me…twice. Then one day, years later, I had an epiphany! God did not “take” them, he gave them to me. I had them both in my life, I was blessed to love them, and have them love me. I still hurt, still miss them, but I am able to breathe now. I hope that you can find something to ease your pain. Sending you blessings.

  44. Reblogged this on Grateful Gabbing and commented:
    finally someone really talks about what letting go means. It’s been hard for me to let go of certain people and it’s been hard for certain people to let go of me. Do we ever really let go? Share your thoughts.

    • Juliet

      Yes, you let go after one month. Why? because we reinvent ourselves daily. Every day there is something new. Some things are expected to happen and some things just happen and you take the good with the bad. We women are always alone, not lonely. Men do not and can not understand our hormones going up and down by the second. So, you let go every day a little bit more. Because I sincerely believe men are like band-aids. The friendship with men is full of conditions. I never give myself tied up from top to toe to anyone because anything can happen. It is best to live day by day, cherishing the day and thanking God for that day. For the good to enjoy and the bad to grow stronger. The next day is another day to live on and grow. Last month several of my B.F.F. died for one reason or another. They can’t come back. So, you learn to live without them. And if someone leaves me, it is like he died too. No one is essential. I am not essential either.
      This is my philosophy. Go with the flow.

  45. I came across this blog approximately 6 months ago and I follow it regularly. When I see one of Hannah’s posts come through my inbox I take the time out and make sure I it read immediately. Both of you (and everyone else who have commented) are so strong to write your stories, I give both of you so much credit. It has taken me a long time to get the guts to even mention anything in my past because of how painful it is to relive all of those details again.
    Nearly 7 years ago I went through one of the most tragic situations that can happen to a woman. I was taken advantage of by a supposed friend. I went through such an awful time of self hatred for letting something like this happen. My boyfriend at the time, now my ex, took it to another level and instead of helping me heal, made himself the victim instead. Though, looking back on it, I should’ve handled things differently. I reported the guy who took advantage of me to the on-campus police but never pursued anything more. I personally couldn’t handle what would happen next. I lived in fear and instead locked myself in my room at school. I took on horrible habits of drinking, smoking, and self mutilation on top of the already apparent depression that was taking away the person I once was. I had never stooped to a worse low in that moment of time. After a month of being treated terribly by my bf, we finally ‘made up’ but things were never the same. While I tried to glue the pieces of myself that I had destroyed back together, I kept reliving that moment in time because he wouldn’t let me forget. I finally ended things with him in hopes of bettering myself a year and half later.
    In the meantime, I found my now current fiance. He was perfect and we were for each other. We took a 4 month break a little before our 1 year anniversary. I tried to understand. Sent message after unreplied message asking why and that I could change. My depression came back tenfold and similar habits emerged again. We had needed time apart, we were at different places in life and needed time to realize what we needed most. What you are explaining is exactly how I felt. I had friends telling me to just let go. I tried, but I couldn’t, I wasn’t ready. There finally came a day when I was tired of just sitting in my room crying, drinking myself to sleep, and hating myself and everything about life when I finally woke up one morning and decided to change. I started researching self-help and found an amazing book by Karen Salmansohn “The Bounce Back Book” and it changed my whole thinking on life and how to handle this major setback. I can’t say that my self-hatred and depression went away overnight, but slowly my thinking started to change towards a more positive outlook on life. You need to take these moments slowly, at your own pace and follow your soul. It took me a very long time to realize that you can’t control things that are ‘out of your control’ but you can change yourself and thinking.
    I now have been back with my fiance for nearly two years and things have been absolutely wonderful. Things do change and do get better in time. The setbacks will never go away though. I lost my father to his 9 month battle of Melanoma only a month after my fiance and I started dating again. This now has proven to be the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with, but I do thank God that I took the time when I could to reevaluate how I handle terrible things and setbacks.
    Currently, I am trying to plan a wedding and received the horrible news this week that my company is downsizing and my job is at risk. As I said, the setbacks never go away but how you handle them can. I have a clearer mind now and no longer regress back to those horrible times like I used to and enter my “vortex”. I can think back and just know that I survived and I am a better person for it now.
    My advice is to be strong and know that there are so many people out there who have and will be in your shoes. We are all here for you. Keep your chin up and take this as a moment to heal and realize your true potential. There is someone out there waiting for you, it’s just a matter of time until you find each other. Surround yourself with people who love you and will be positive in your journey of healing. Stay strong, keep your mind open to change, and follow your heart like no other <3

  46. jacheart

    Ohh, K. These things will never make sense and they will never get easier. I have a whole giant painful story on this subject, but I’ll save Hannah’s comment area and just give you the link to where I wrote about it: http://jacheart.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/a-lesson-on-finding-true-love/
    I hope I can offer some comfort and relief. <3

  47. Dear K,

    When I first read your email to H, I did a double take – we share the same initial and a similar heartbreak. H’s words, and the other encouraging notes on here, are true – they may feel like just words right now, and next week and next month, but they will become a reality for you. I was shattered by a breakup that left me hating myself for mistakes I had made and wondering if I could ever be loved again by someone as perfect for me as he was.

    It’s been over a year; I haven’t reached the point where I can wish him well, but I feel so much more content with who I am. I’m opening windows, unclenching my fists and learning to love myself.

    Sending hugs,
    Another K

  48. Katherine R

    Dear K,
    Hannah is right, you are far from alone. I read your letter and my heart instantly hurt for you because I share the same heartache.
    I still remember the day that I met my first love. We became best friends instantly. It was so refreshing to finally met a guy that was interested in getting to know me as a person before anything else. It got to the point where I felt like he knew me better than I knew myself. When we finally started dating, we both agreed to take things slow. I learned to really trust him, every night he would say to me “goodnight, I promise I’ll still be here tomorrow” for a month, and I believed that he wasn’t going to leave. He changed the way I looked at relationships, for once in my life I could finally be okay with someone taking care of me for a change and trusted that he could do it. I felt safe and secure with him. I could sit here and write out every single moment, every precious memory I have with him and it would sound like a scene right out of romance film. Random strangers would come up to us and say that they had been observing us and thought we were the cutest couple, we were that good together. I truly thought he was my soul mate.
    But as Adam Levine from Maroon 5 would say, “even the sun sets in paradise.” We had been together for a year and a half when we finally hit the bumps in the road. I fought so hard to make things better, to make him happy. I wanted to see how we could be as a couple on the other side of the rough patch stage of relationships. In the end, I had said yes to someone but had to accept that in order for it to work the other person needed to say yes too, and he didn’t. And nothing hurts more than being rejected by your best friend, your other half.
    We all go through the breakup stages differently. I cried every day for over a month, I went through every day of our rough patch that lead up to our breakup in my mind, looking for things that I did wrong, I blamed and beat myself up about it. I would write to him, trying to at least keep him in my life as my friend, but he cut all communication off cold turkey. I was heartbroken. I felt worthless. My friends and family would try to give me words of comfort and tell me not to live off the “what ifs” and to be angry at him, not myself. And that was another complicated thing, up until that rough patch I couldn’t say a bad thing about him, he treated me right and then it was like all of a sudden he became a different person overnight. At times I would get angry that he became a coward and ran away and that he couldn’t even be a good friend to me in the end. I didn’t want to hear people tell me “I know how you feel” and I clutched my hands in fists of rage when someone would say “everything happens for a reason.” I used to think “No, you DON’T know how I feel, you didn’t just get your heart ripped out of your chest by the one person you thought would never do that to you. Your best friend. And far as ‘everything happens for a reason, God has a plan for you,’ if God wanted me to trust him then WHY did he put this great guy in my life and then just take him away from me? Cruel joke, God. CRUEL.” And that wasn’t the worst part. After we broke up, everyone, literally EVERYONE I knew got engaged… Life just sucked then. Everyone was getting their happy ending and I was back at the starting line. It became hard to hang out with my two best friends and their boyfriends of 5+ years, because every time they got cute with each other I felt like I was getting kicked in the stomach and the chest at the same time. The only thing that came to my mind when that happened was “he used to say those things to me.. And now he’s not here anymore.”
    It’s been three months now. Three months of what feels like an eternity of tears and heartache/depressed moods and self blame. I feel so ashamed that I even feel this way, and like I’m a burden to all of my friends and family. I feel like the more I try to tell my story to people that didn’t know us as a couple the more it sounds like I’m trying to convince them that he and I were right for each other when I should be telling myself that we obviously weren’t. I’m not going to lie, learning to live without him had been hard, it will kick your butt for awhile, but I’m taking it one day at a time. My suffering has lessened as time goes on and it will be the same way for you.
    During one of my deep-thought drives around the city that I live in, I came to the realization that, yes, people have walked out of my life in the past couple of years and I was sad to see them go, but just within a couple of months God has blessed me with numerous new friends. Put all of of those new friends together plus the friends that I have in my life already and they exceed the greatness of the people that walked out. We tend to not see the blessings in our lives until we’re down on the ground looking up at who’s there in front of us with their hand out and a warm smile on their face.
    My advice is to take a deep breath and let it out. And as hard as it might be right now, smile, because each day that passes, you become a lot stronger than you were the day before. It may not seem or feel like it, but you are. Also, don’t become a hermit. That’s how the depressed moods get the best of you. Get out there and do fun stuff with friends. LAUGH again. Take up a new hobby, do something that you always wanted to do but never got around to it. MEET NEW PEOPLE. Honestly, that’s how I’ve been getting through it. That, and praying to God to just give me enough strength to get through another day. Don’t get caught up in your favorite chapter of the book of your life, because if you don’t read on you’ll never know what happens next. Sure, that guy was great. But the next guy, whenever that may be, will be even greater. So great that he won’t even compare to the previous one. You deserve that. And much more.

    Happy Recovery!
    K.R.

    • kdrou

      K.R.,

      Every word of this resonates with me – my “recovery” took over a year and a half, and I’m still hesitant to trust again, but I feel so much healthier. Thinking of you and knowing those good friends will carry you until you can stand on your own again.

      Lots of love,

      Kdrou

  49. I can’t wait for you to have the moment…the moment when you realize you have truly let go. That moment will come. It will definitely come, don’t rush it.

  50. Hi K,

    I met my first love at university, 1st year. In our final year we moved in together. It was the best and worst time of my life. I had always wanted to live in London, and he said “lets do it! Lets move right now!” so we did. He found a job, and was happy living in a pokey bedsit. I wasn’t. I got really ill. Depressed. I forgot how to feel anything. When things were good between us they were AMAZING, but when they were bad, they were HELL. I couldn’t live with him, or without him.

    Two months ago after another huge argument I left. I packed my stuff, and I moved back in with my parents. I had nothing. I’m writing this because I can see both your side, and your partner’s side of the story. I was the heart broken one, but I’m also the one who walked to the underground station, and never came back, while he looked out of our window. I know what you are BOTH feeling. I was with him for 2 and a half years.

    It does get easier with time. It hurts because it matters. You’re upset because he mattered. He meant something. You can’t just undo that. You’re scared to let go because you have nothing else to grab on to.

    Just take one day at a time. Some days you’re going to think “I’m fine, on top of the world, I’m the epitome of that Katy Perry song” other days you just want to curl up in the duvet and cry.

    See letting go like the monkey bars in the park. In order to move forward you need to let go (when you are ready) of something in order to grab onto something else. There are other things out there to grab onto. Think about what you want to do when you graduate, grab onto that.

    You’ll get through this, I know you will :)
    K.F.
    P.S. I’m here if you wanted to correspond. I

  51. K –

    Your loneliness and sadness is not just your own. I too have loved and lost, and lost again using Elizabeth Gilbert’s words as my guide, my personal how-to bible for how to move forward and live again. If you haven’t yet, pick up her book– it does help to hear words from someone else who has lost.

    Take your time to be alone, and to feel your pain, but know that you grow stronger in the presence of the women that love you and support you. Remind yourself that you are beautiful, and kind, deep and caring. Without even knowing you, I know this, because it seems so strongly through your words. And best of all, you know love– you know how to love and love well. That is a gift that will serve you forever, though it pains you now.

    As you read all of these notes from women around the world, know how much you’re being loved and being prayed for. I hope you can feel it.

  52. Skye

    K-
    My heart aches for you. I know that mental path your mind has taken and I know that it’s a dark path. Just remember that every forest has an end and the light will come.
    For me, when I was surrounded by my grief over a lost love, I allowed myself some time to grieve. But during that time, I had some wonderful friends who tried with all their might to entertain me to keep my mind off of IT. But as you know, those distractions are momentary and literally everything can remind you of HIM. So I learned to put a smile on my face and not talk about the focus that was in mind…HIM. Instead, I went to every concert, movie, sporting event, show, dinner that I was invited to. I signed up for and took a scuba diving class. I re-joined the gym and was a committed member. Looking back, I really just lived a fuller life and didn’t allow myself much time to be alone with my thoughts….for months. Finally, one day, I got sick and had to stay home and in bed for several days (stomach flu is the worst kind of flu). On about the 4th day, I could manage to leave the confines of my bedroom/bathroom area and I laid miserable on the couch in front of mindless daytime reruns. And I watched the reruns between my naps. Then on day 5 I felt somewhat better enough that I didn’t sleep all day, so I truly watched more of the mindless daytime reruns…and I laughed. And it scared me, the sound of my own laughter, genuine laughter scared me. So I cried and laughed while crying. It was stupid really. Or I looked stupid…or maybe it was the lack of sustenance in my body combined with the slap-stick comedy of those reruns, but it was that small thing that broke the pain that I’d been hiding.
    No one can tell you how to handle this or what will fix it. One day you’ll just realize it doesn’t hurt so much. And then some other day, you’ll realize this isn’t so bad; this life I have. That’s not to say that I don’t still think about HIM every now and then. And when I do, I choose the path Hannah speaks of, I wish for him everything that he wants. And I move on.
    And I don’t hate him for what he did {breaking my heart}. I learned so much about myself when we were “us”. I learned things that I never knew that I had feelings about or the ability to do. I learned how strong I could be. My maternal instincts were around when I was never sure I actually had them. But I also learned from our relationship. I learned about the kind of relationship I wanted…and some things I didn’t want. I took the parts that I did like and I embraced them. I also remembered how to be without him…you know, that space of life before him. And no, you can’t go completely back to that, but you can remember that there is air to breathe without him standing right there. And when I ventured back into the dating world, I took those memories, those wants with me and that’s what I looked for in a man.
    I also got a dog. She didn’t question my tears when they came unexpectedly in those first few months. She just looked at me with her loving little eyes and cuddled closer, or wandered off to her bed, or played with her toys. And she was company. Constant company when I was home. So I was never alone. I talked to her and told her what was going through my mind. And she didn’t judge. She was the world’s BEST listener.
    It will get better…you will come out of that dark forest. But for now, put a smile on your face (or at least not a frown), and take a look around…did someone leave that tire swing for you to hop on a take a ride? Oooo, is that a maze over there? Awesome, all the makings of a great tree house! Wow, what a pretty bird. Check it out yall, I made a wreath! Did someone say campfire?
    Sending you blessings and prayers…
    ~S

  53. jacquiwithaq

    K

    “perhaps strength doesn’t reside in having never been broken,
    but in the courage required to grow strong in the broken places.”

    don’t fight your broken heart. and please, please don’t be embarrassed for your feelings. how could anyone anywhere expect you to feel anything other than sad? when someone who is a big part of your life, is suddenly NOT – it’s a feeling you truly can’t describe, much less just “get over”

    we love you. we may not know you but we love you. because in the end, we’re all in this together. this life, love, heartbreak thing – everyone has either been there already or will be there someday. so this is your someday, and we’re here for you. and most importantly, it’s okay. it’s okay to be sad. i know you don’t want to be, but the sooner you stop fighting it, the sooner you can overcome it.

    be strong <3

  54. Sahar

    Dearest K,

    In your darkest hour, you still shine so bright. In your heart of hearts, know that I am sending you understanding, prayers and love, No matter how lonely you feel, and I know you do, remember this, you are not alone. Thank you for having the courage to share your story, may you find solace in the telling of it.

    Much Love,

    L

  55. Dearest, dearest K,
    If the 50+ beautiful comments haven’t quite convinced you yet; if Hannah’s loving words haven’t quite sunk it yet, let me repeat the overwhelming truth the world is aching for you to know: You, lovely Miss K, are not alone. You may feel lonely in the deepest parts of your heart, but you are not alone. The people who have lifted you up in the arms of this comment backs are proof of that. We all want you to know that we understand. We’ve all been broken, we’ve called shattered places home, we have been lost and we have been at a loss as what to do it where to go. In a thousand different ways, we know what you’re going through, K. My heart throbs for you, for the memory of my own barren places, but I also feel great hope for you. This, right here, is the place where you can teach yourself to remember what a previous person you are. Not a single person on this blog has met you, but we love you anyway. And I hope you can see that as evidence that it’s just lovely to love yourself too. Love yourself, despite the way the pieces of your heart rattle in your chest. Learn to dance to rhythm of your broken pieces. In time, I pinky promise, you begin to truly feel happy again. Not because of anything to do with him. One of the problems with the concept of letting go is that it puts the focus on the other person. It puts the focus solely on him. But K, we are all here today focusing on you with love and light and wishes for your happiness. So maybe, take a few minutes when you feel like you can breathe, and focus on yourself. The wonderfulness of being you. And use the truth that you are beautiful to bless everyone around you. Thank you for your honesty, K. God bless you.

    With much love,
    Jessi

  56. I have so much to say, but I’ll sum it up in two things: firstly, thank you, on behalf of all the broken hearts in the past, present and future, for putting this immortal address of friendship and encouragement out there – secondly, I hope you don’t mind, but you just inspired a song in me. If it turns out well, I’ll give you all the love and credit in the world <3

  57. Being a guy, this may be a problem that’s bigger for me than for you, but I know that the time healing started for me after my ex girlfriended ended it was the same time I started to be honest with myself.

    See, when she called me to say it was all over, I went into a place of emotional shock. I didn’t feel awful or relieved or anxious. I didn’t feel much at all. But after the shock wore off, i realized my own sadness and pain. And everyone said it would be okay. And everyone said they were sorry.

    And I even believed that I should be moving on and letting go- that I HAD to let go. And you know what? I was lying about how I felt and what I needed to do. One day I decided to stop and just admit things. I admitted I was sad. I admitted I was in pain. I admitted I missed her. I admitted that it wasn’t okay. It sucked and still sucks.

    Here, in a place of honesty, letting all of my held back tears finally come out, admitting I wasn’t alright and hated what happened, this is where healing started.

    So K, I’m sorry for you. Sure it’sgonna be okay eventually, and sure you will let go one day…but losing him sucks. Honestly, it does.

    -David

  58. Lauren

    Dear K,

    I know exactly how you feel. I entered into a relationship with who seemed to be a prince charming and my everything. I built my life around him. I dreamed his dreams, I supported every idea he had no matter how big or small. He moved and became distant and I became unimportant. I thought my world was over. Everything fell in on me, I thought there was no way we weren’t getting back together. We were meant to be weren’t we? I spent the days and months afterwards crying myself to sleep, crying during the day, and sleeping. Just sleeping. Then,he left me with something that was unexpected. I began to realize he was not the man I thought he was. But, I was still so in love and made more excuses for my prince charming. Because we were meant to be right? I didn’t do what I was supposed to. I didn’t delete his number, I kept the clothes, I kept the pictures on my wall, I kept things he gave me. And I sat around wondering why I couldn’t let go. He was surrounding me everywhere I went. He was in my head at all times. By this time I started to realize my lifestyle was unhealthy, but I was so lost in the dark so deep I didn’t know how to get out. My friends were not helpful, because they also thought we would get back together. Flash forward two months into the breakup and my fatal mistakes all came back to haunt me. I should have unfriended him on Facebook, because I would soon see he was in a new relationship. “How” I asked myself could the man who told me he wanted to marry me and that I helped him believe in love again move on so quickly. I blamed myself at first. Until it finally hit me. I was not at fault, I never had been. What I was at fault for was not remembering my worth. I placed all my worth in this one man and when he left, he took all of me with him and left the shell of a girl everyone used to know. I realized that there was no way he valued me and I never wanted him back. Now, I’m not saying that after this realization that it still hasn’t been hard. It’s been the toughest thing I’ve dealt with. I still live in the town we were together in. I walk around and I’m still reminded of memories almost daily. But, I’ve begun to shift through them and tell myself that I am worthy. You are worthy. We are worthy of so much more. We may not have the same story, but I connect with you. Also, I’ve had such a hard time allowing myself to have emotions about the situation. I think if I cry, he wins. But, I’ve realized by not letting myself ugly cry I’m only hurting myself. We need to mourn what we’ve lost. There comes a time when it’s no longer appropriate, but it’s new, it’s fresh and it’s raw. So, don’t let him take a part of you and don’t allow him to define you. We are beautiful women who will be loved by the right man and we don’t have to wait around for him. I have a feeling our true loves will blow these men out of the water, and one day they will be a lesson we had to learn. I pray I’ve helped by sharing my story.

  59. T

    To K, and the rest of the broken hearts club
    I wish we were all connected through something happier, but I suppose when you break it down, it is still love and that’s a beautiful thing. It’s been two years since I lost my best friend of 14yrs. It still hurts, and I’m sure in some ways it always will. My story isn’t of romantic love, but in a lot of ways the same feelings apply. I thought I had found my soulmate in friend form, someone who would love me for me no matter what. It was the first time the words “I Love You” came from someone other than family, and those words saved my life more times than I can count. But life had other plans for us, and one day this person who I had given my whole heart to just vanished from my life, without a text, or a call, or any sort of notice. And that level of devaluing really messed with my self worth….for a long time. I did what Hannah mentioned, I put everything on my shoulders and I tried to “fix” what was wrong, and the back and forth limbo of possibility and uncertainty only made me feel worse. I just needed to let go. Their ghost is still locked in my closet. Hidden in a box of words, surrounded by their voice, and the love that their existence brought to my life. We are different people now and perhaps our paths will never cross again, but I’m blessed with the time we shared and I wish them nothing but rainbows of happiness.
    I came across this quote and it really helped me through my process of letting go, and I hope it will bring you the same comfort it brought to me…..

    “To let go isn’t to forget, not think about or ignore. It doesn’t leave feelings of anger, jealousy or regret. Letting go isn’t winning and it isn’t losing. It’s not about pride and it’s not about how you appear and it’s not obsessing or dwelling on the past. Letting go isn’t blocking memories or thinking sad thoughts and doesn’t leave emptiness, hurt or sadness. It’s not giving in or giving up. Letting go isn’t about loss and it’s not defeat.

    To let go is to cherish the memories, but to overcome and move on. It is having an open mind and confidence in the future. Letting go is accepting. It is learning and experiencing and growing. To let go is to be thankful for the experiences that made you laugh, made you cry and made you grow. It’s about all that you have, all that you had and all that you will gain. Letting go is having the courage to accept change and the strength to keep moving. Letting go is growing up, it is realising that the heart can sometimes be the most potent remedy. To let go is to open a door and to clear a path and set yourself free.”

    Bless your beating heart. You are not alone. You are whole. You are loved.
    ——–T

  60. Tanya

    Miss K.
    My heart is heavy with your sadness. Its too bad that each of us couldn’t use our hearts to lessen your load and help set you free.
    I think it is so important to remember one thing:
    You must define what you are letting go of. If you intend to let go of him, you will never be free of your heavy heart. You cannot let go of him. You are who you are because of him. And you may not realize it now, but you are stronger because of him.
    He is a part of you and that’s ok.
    You need to let go of his hurt. Let go of the pain in your heart and the heaviness in your soul. Let go of the dreams you had for the two of you. Let go of the future you had planned and wash away the path you had built for your life together.
    My advice to you is this: allow his memory to make your stronger and use that strength to let go of your hurt.
    We are all rooting for you, beautiful.

  61. Candice

    One Word.. WOW! You hit on the nail. This is wisdom I wish I would have had someone tell me when I went through something very similar. Amazing post! T

  62. Kristin

    This email showed up in my inbox 15 minutes ago. Usually I don’t even take the time to read emails until later in the day but for some reason I read this one right away. I am thankful for this email. I have been there. In fact until a week ago I thought I had let go of my first love. It’s been 2 1/2 years since we’ve been together. The day it ended is branded in my memory. It was messy. It was hard. In fact, it was probably the most difficult time in my life. But there was never any doubt in my mind that he cared. I loved him and he loved me. Life had come between us. We tried a couple other times later in the year to be together and it just wasn’t working. We went our separate ways. He began to date someone. I stayed single. The days and weeks became less painful but still I felt a sting. A sadness. I cried all the time, over everything. I had become angry. At everything and everyone. I reclused. At a certain point I knew that I could not continue on in this manner, I was embarrassed at my unwillingness to move forward with any part of my life. I was like stone statue, and if forced to move too much in any one direction I would inevitably crack and fall apart. That’s when a friend and I decided to make 2013 The Year of Happiness. We were both tired of being unhappy, and the most important step in defining our happiness is knowing what was making us unhappy. The second most important thing is sharing experiences with someone. It’s hard to share experiences with anyone else when there is that one. The one that you want your whole world to revolve around and for their world to be you. But it was time for me to try something new. So far, this year has been an incredible year. It’s been hard, but not near as hard as when my love and I separated, so I knew I could overcome most anything else. I found a church that supported my needs and introduced me to all the love and goodness of God. I found a new circle of friends. I bought a new car (Dave Ramsey style), I recently got a new job and sold everything I had which has allowed me to take some time off before moving to a new city and traveling the country for work. It has been a great year. A fantastic year. And yet I still miss him. I still think of him everyday. I still hope that one day we will meet in Germany like we had talked of and our love story adventure will continue. I have learned that when you love someone so deeply, there is no escaping the ache. It does get better with time but I don’t think it will ever go away. Last week, my old love and I went to a concert together. It was a musician that we both really like, one that has been around since our relationship first began. It was wonderful. The time with him was wonderful. A week later (which would be Tuesday of this week) we met for a few hours. I gave him a Bible. As much as I still want to be with him, I want more for him to feel the love that God has for him. I pray for him to find what truly makes him happy in this life and to be able to pursue it with all that he is. Even if it doesn’t include me. All this to say that I love him more than I ever have, but I have also gained the viewpoint that this world is not just about me and what I want. There is too much wisdom to be gained, people to be met and experiences to be had for me to stay stuck. The world is a beautiful place and it is best experienced when shared with others. I am thankful for all the difficult times over the last few years, I have allowed them to mold me into a person with a deeper understanding of the greater world. I read a piece of wisdom yesterday that is exactly what I needed to hear and what was said in the email response to K. A little old lady told her dying husband that she didn’t think she could go on without him, she didn’t know what to do with all the love she had for him. His response was to take all that love and give it to those who need it. This is what I plan to do. Take the richness I have gained from these experiences and use them toward the good of others. I still hope. But I have also come to peace that it may never be. Your days will keep moving and so will you. You are ok. You’ll find new life and beauty. You are ok. You’ll smile more and laugh more. You are ok. Life will distract you. It will get easier. You will make the most of it. You are ok.

  63. K

    To Hannah and to everyone who responded:
    Here and now, words truly do fail. I can’t properly express to all of you how much your support, love, and empathy has meant to me. For the past few days, since this post hit the Internet, I have read it over and over again, as well as all of your responses, and I feel like I have been walking around in a giant hug.
    All of your advice and all of your stories have truly helped me to not feel so alone, and that’s the most beautiful part of all of this. I know that my pain isn’t just going to go away, I know that letting go will be a process, but this immense display of acceptance and compassion has given me the strength to be more honest with myself and with other people in my life. You are all so beautiful and you’ve lived and survived through so much. I wish, like Hannah said, that I could make my words into plane tickets so we could all join together and sit and not be alone. I’m going to try to respond individually to as many of you as I can, but I just needed to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You have all changed my life. The past few days, when I’ve found myself feeling most lost or low, I just go to this bookmarked page, and read Hannah’s words and your words, and I feel my load lightening.
    I love love love each and every one of you. Thank you for listening and for sharing and for just being there and being you. My heart is exploding with love and gratitude.

    Xoxo,
    K

  64. Rev. Gini Smith

    I read the letter. I read your response to her letter. My heart fills with the poignancy of such similar memories.

    Once, many years ago, my second daughter wailed that whatever was upsetting her at the time was so terrible. Would it ever get better? I started to say, “Yes, it will get better.” Then I stopped. I answered her honestly from the memories of my own pain and anguished cries. “It gets easier to deal with in time.”

    Hannah’s advice is so perfect. Trying to throw out all the memories, all the pain, all the tears is like trying to tear out your heart. It doesn’t work. So, take out those memories. Write them down. Bless each one. Then, burn the paper on which your wrote and throw the ashes into the breeze to light on the grass and the trees. Or, make a paper airplane and fly it into wherever it goes.

    One thing I learned so many years after one of the worse hurts was that I could still love that one (more than one, actually, over time) and I could love even more. How my expression of the love changed over the years. The heart does not forget the love when we bless the one who is gone from us. It continues to love. I think that’s why blessing the love and sending it on its way with a prayer keeps us open to love more and again.

    My first really forever love begin on the day of my sister’s wedding, three days after my 15th birthday – a very long time ago. A year later he left when he was discharged from the Army and moved halfway across the country to live with his parents. He was six years older and ready for more than I was at the time. I was still in high school and he was wise enough and loving enough to recognize it wasn’t our time.

    Another year passed and I received a long, beautifully written letter, the last I was to receive from him. He had gone back to his home country (he was from a European nation), met a girl closer to his age and they were married. How I grieved over that letter. I had still hoped he was waiting for me. So, I wrote a poem I still treasure all these years (50 of them) later. It was gentle and sad.

    I learned something, though. We are back in touch after all these years. We talked recently and agreed: Love does not die even when the relationship ends. How one lives with that kind of love just changes and, hopefully, becomes the springboard to loving more. I don’t want to go back to what the love was 50 years ago. I want to continue to love in a different way, to love my friend who was then and still is a good, dear man with a wonderful wife of 50 years. This is a love that can enrich my life, not damage his, hers, my husband’s or mine. I can keep on loving and give it as a gift.

  65. i’m not sure i could count the times i locked myself in my car, blasted taylor swift through my speakers and cried. i remembered every flannel sweater and sweet word he said to me. i remembered his smell and the way we danced. i remembered it all too well (as the darling tswifty would say) i pretended it was raining. i pretended it was a movie. but it wasn’t. it was real. so so very real and i felt so broken. i felt absolutely shattered as if i would never ever seem to recover, but here’s the beautiful thing; i did. am i better because of it? most days. the world is a beautiful place and we can’t let one ugly situation dim the rest of our light. i’m whole. you’re whole. and there are cracks in everyone, and that’s ok because that’s how the light gets in. keep shining. you’ll make it.

  66. M

    Beautiful K,

    Today is a perfect day to start living your dreams. I am sending you love&hapiness&peace all wrapped in a beautiful bow. Because you deserve all the good thing in life. I will walk along side you for however long it take…

    Your Friend,

    M.

  67. My mother has long told me to be strong, brave, and true. And those have become my words, my mantra, to my self and all others, because in the face of anything—the heartbreak, the joy, the hard uphill slog, the swift and fantastic decent—you need strength, you need courage, and you need truth.

    So—be strong, brave, and true. And take good care of you.

  68. Leah

    K,
    Don’t try to stop loving him because no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to.
    A year and a half ago, the boy I planned on marrying, the boy I almost changed my life and gave up my dreams for, rejected me. I loved him, I didn’t understand why, and still don’t. He didn’t give me answers. He just left. Just like your man. Walked away, broke up with me while he was in a different state. A summer later, I saw him every day. It was hard. It was near impossible. I still loved him. I tried revenge, tried to get another guy because I was desperate and wanted him to hurt like he hurt me. It didn’t work. It didn’t ease the pain, and thankfully none of those desperate relationships worked out.
    I moved on. Forged friendships, and opened the opportunity to now be dating my best friend. When I see him, it doesn’t hurt as much, two years later. I still love him. Love never ends. My heart mended, but I still have a scar, there is still a piece missing. I see his bad choices, and I want to help him, but I can’t. I can’t get involved again cause I’m scared. I love my boyfriend now, more so than I loved him. I trust him completely, I can talk about anything, faith, God, the future, now, movies, music, and can be myself around him. I never thought I would be able to trust again, love again, open up… but he broke down my walls, he doesn’t know my story, but he keeps me standing strong.
    Pray. Love. Trust. It can only get better. Don’t try to stop loving him. Don’t try and replace him. Love other people. Let other people love you. That is how our hearts mend, by love.
    Prayers go out to you, and all those who commented who have struggled, or are still struggling.
    Trust in God.

    -Leah

  69. I love this. I’m not even finished reading it yet and I truly, truly love this. Because I did the same, not-letting-go thing, and it took so long to understand that that was freeing and healing and perfectly alright.

  70. Steph

    K,
    I’ve been where you have been and reading Hannah’s note to you reminded me of how much I leaned on Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey and reading about her getting over heartbreak. That book has gotten me through many tough times as has many other blogs and motivational stories from others who have gone through something similar. It takes time, and no one can tell you how to get through it but just pray. When you feel like you can’t do it alone anymore, its because you can’t…that’s what God is for. Give your worry your fear your stresses to him and He will get you through it.

    I also want to leave you with one of my favorite pastors and one of his biggest messages that has spoken to me over the years. Its something I have to remind myself of frequently but a message that I love. I share it with everyone. :)

    http://let-it-go-by-t-d-jakes-a-must-read.missmybabies.aidpage.com/

    Enjoy, be strong and know that you are not alone and I am prayin for you!
    Stephanie

  71. Dear K

    You’re not alone. In this short life we have, we all struggle with same demons. I found this blog and your story by accident. At the point in my life when I feel the same way as you do. And this…all of this…helped me. So I guess there are no accidents. You are not alone. I’m sending you my light and love and I’m sure we will all find the way of letting go.

    And thank you HB. I will keep on reading this every day until I heal. And then I’ll read it again just to remind myself that I am not alone.

  72. D

    Dear K,

    I found this story by accident, even though I don’t think it was an accident at all. I found it at the moment in my life when I feel the same as you and I’m pretty much torn in pieces. I’ve read all the comments and I’m just one more to tell you you’re not alone. We’re all fighting our demons, we’re all standing at one point in our lives when we have to get up and start again. And let go. And it’s hard. It’s harder than anything else. Letting go doesn’t seem to be the easiest thing to do, especially when you don’t want to do it. I think I’ll still be hanging on for quite a while for the one that I lost, and right now… I don’t even want to think about living without him. About opening my hands and being without him. Even though I know it happened. Even though I know in my heart that one day I will let him go and I will be able to be happy and free… someday. I feel you and I hear you. Words will never be enough. I’m sending you my light and my love and my hopes you’ll find the peace we’re all searching for. Peace within our heart and peace within our thoughts.

    Dear Hanna,

    thank you for the words. They are healing at the time when I needed it the most.

    Love,

    D.

  73. D

    Dear K,

    I found this story by accident, even though I don’t think it was an accident at all. I found it at the moment in my life when I feel the same as you and I’m pretty much torn in pieces. I’ve read all the comments and I’m just one more to tell you you’re not alone. We’re all fighting our demons, we’re all standing at one point in our lives when we have to get up and start again. And let go. And it’s hard. It’s harder than anything else. Letting go doesn’t seem to be the easiest thing to do, especially when you don’t want to do it. I think I’ll still be hanging on for quite a while for the one that I lost, and right now… I don’t even want to think about living without him. About opening my hands and being without him. Even though I know it happened. Even though I know in my heart that one day I will let him go and I will be able to be happy and free… someday. I feel you and I hear you. Words will never be enough. I’m sending you my light and my love and my hopes you’ll find the peace we’re all searching for. Peace within our heart and peace within our thoughts.

    Dear Hanna,

    thank you for the words. They are healing at the time when I needed it the most.

    Love,

    D.

  74. (also) K

    K,
    Your story is eerily similar to mine. Literally a storybook, fairytale, dream come true kind of love, with very valid reasons for not working out. Valid reasons don’t make it hurt less. People who have never given up the thing they wanted most, the thing they thought would be forever, will never understand. You alone know how to grieve and how to work through this. God will provide you a new way, and although you can’t imagine it right now, one day you’ll look back and be thankful. I don’t expect you to believe that right now (I certainly wouldn’t have), but that’s the beauty of God – he does the things we can’t imagine.
    With love and hugs,
    (also) K

  75. Morgan

    K., I hope it helps to know that you are not alone. We have all been there or will be. Hannah is so right. To find the good in the bad, to find the healing in the sting is the only way to move forward. It will take time and when you hit one of those really rough moments or days…..come back here and read these over again. You’re friends care, sweetie.

  76. Kristina

    K,

    You can do it girl! Break ups are tough and having a broken heart is even harder, but it’s these challenges that will make you stronger, more confident and closer to finding the right person that will love you for who you are. Time heals all. Keep your chin up and smile, girlfriend :) You’re not alone – I am sending strength and love your way. xo

  77. I’ve spent the past year working on getting over the boy I swore was my soul mate. We were best friends, we each other’s deepest thoughts and secrets. Then he told me that he didn’t love me, broke up with me in the worst way he possibly could, and ripped my heart to shreds. I spent months chasing him and trying literally everything I could possibly think of, ever, to try to get him to love me back, and nothing worked. Once that failed, I tried to work on myself for about 9 months. Which ended with us back in each other’s lives again. Nothing was changing. I was there when it was convenient for him, but I was never going to be more. About a month ago I decided that it was time to let go. And even though I still love him, I’ve reached the point where I can’t be wishing for him anymore. I always remind myself that “I will always love and be loved again.” It’s hard to believe, but I know it’s true. Everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. Below is the goodbye letter I wrote to him a few nights ago. I didn’t send it, but it sums up exactly how this whole experience has affected me and what I’ve learned. Keep your head up. It’s going to get better. :)

    It has been a year.

    It has been a year since we stared up at that endless starry sky on the rooftop of that dirty white building I swore would always fall apart, wondering what future we would have together. It has been a year since we breathed in that cold winter air that blew in from the mountains above us. It has been a year since I kissed your beautiful, poisonous lips and whispered to you that “I would.”

    As I lay here in this cold, empty room where the darkness never ceases to torture my lonely mind, all I can think about is you. I look back on the past year and I can’t help but to smile; yet invisible tears still fall down my cheeks. I have cried enough tears for you that no more can fall, but I can feel the burning of where they used to be. It’s hazy now- the pain. It used to sit on my body with a force that made me feel like I was being held underwater. It’s like drowning; heartbreak, that is. Kicking and screaming, gasping for the smallest breath of your affection, drowning in all of the false hope and wasted dreams that fill the pool that is my mind. Now my body feels light.

    The memories are something beautiful.

    It was one moment in time that was worth all of the heartbreak I felt. One moment that could explain all the love for you I have ever had for you. Pink, purple, blue, and yellow lights dancing over your face in waves, the music perfectly in time with our every movement. Then a kiss; a kiss so deep it felt like the entire world stopped. Time stopped. Everything, stopped. I opened my eyes to see the entire universe gazing back at me through the blue of your eyes. Your body pressed tightly against mine. Your hands in my hair, my hands on your back, sweat dripping down our bodies. In that moment I was convinced you were forever.

    Nothing after that moment really matters. I tried so hard to make you love me back. I loved you more than I have ever loved another. That’s the real tragedy.

    Love is not something that is freely given. You cannot make someone love you. No matter how hard you try. I gave you everything that I ever had to give you, and you still didn’t want me. I loved you as deeply as I knew how to love, and you still didn’t want me. I showed you every dimension of my soul, and you still didn’t love me.

    It has been a year.

    And although my heart may still bear some sadness, I have realized something. You are not worth it. You do not deserve the tears that fall from my eyes. You are not worth receiving anything I have to give. You have no right to see within my soul. You are nothing more than false hope and wasted dreams. And that’s all you’ll ever be. I have not lost you; you have lost everything I could have ever been to you. You are just a speck of dust in the desert of time that is my life. You may have broken my heart, but I am not broken. I will only be better because you are gone. I will only be stronger because I made it through this. I will find someone who is completely deserving of my love, my life, and my soul.

    And he will never be you.

  78. M

    I know the pain of heartbreak & I agree with HB, you will know when it’s time to let go. My experience taught me to believe in Love because that is the most difficult & wonderful feeling. As Rilke wrote in Letters to a Young Poet, what if all of our dragons were really opportunities in disguise? My journey is to move forward & believe because these heartaches can give us wisdom for future relationships. Hope springs eternal!

  79. amanda

    Holy crap. Your story described everything I’m going through right now. I was with my boyfriend for 4, almost 5 years and one day he decided he needed to be alone, figure things out. And I can’t help but think it was my fault. If I were a little bit more. I felt like I wasn’t enough. This just happened 2 days ago and it feels like months already. I really don’t know what I’m going to do but I just want to let you know that you’re not alone. There’s probably 10 million people going through the exact same thing we are. Just take care of you.

    • Malina

      My name is Malina, from United Kingdom. I wish to
      share my testimony with the general public about
      what this temple called (the angels of solution) have done for
      me, this temple have just brought back my lost ex
      lover to me with their great spell work, I was dating this man called Steven we were together for a long
      time and we loved our self’s but when I was unable
      to give him a male child for 5 years he left me and told
      me he can’t continue anymore then I was now
      looking for ways to get him back and also get pregnant, until a friend of
      mine told me about this temple and gave me their contact
      email, then you won’t believe this when I contacted
      them on my problems they prepared the items and cast the spell for me
      and bring my lost husband back, and after a month I
      missed my monthly flow and go for a test and the result
      stated that i was pregnant, am happy today am a mother of
      a set of twins a boy and a girl, i thank the temple once again for what they have done for me, if you are
      out there passing through any of this problems
      listed below:
      (1) If you want your ex back
      (2) if you always have bad dreams.
      (3) You want to be promoted in your office.
      (4) You want women/men to run after you.
      (5) If you want a child.
      (6) You want to be rich.
      (7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be
      yours forever.
      (8) If you need financial assistance.
      (9) Herbal care
      (10) If you can’t be able to satisfy your wife
      sex desire due or
      low err action.
      (11) if your menstruation refuse to come
      out the day it
      suppose or over flows.
      (12) if your work refuse to pay you, people
      owing you?.
      (13) solve a land issue and get it back.
      (14) Did your family Denny you of your
      right?
      (15) Let people obey my words and do my
      wish
      (16) Do you have a low sperm count?
      (17) Case solve E.T.C
      Contact them on their email on theangelsofsolution@gmail.com
      And get all your problems solved
      Thank you.

  80. Pingback: My First Two Originals | Prose and Constellations

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