sorrow pays a visit

I awoke this morning to a pillow wet from my own tears.  Tears I was not aware of having shed.  Tears that had fallen as I slept fitfully, tortured by self-recrimination and regret.

Sorrow is so powerful, she takes my breath away, and I’ve no idea how to battle her.

I remember when I was 14 and my first real boyfriend and I broke up.  I was spectacularly devastated.  I hung up the phone with him, threw myself on my bed, and sobbed until I had no tears left.  My mother sat beside me, stroking my back and urging me to “get it all out.”  When I was done, I rolled over, looked at her, and said (quite dramatically, I’m sure), “I’ll never fall in love again.  This sucks.  I’m never going to hurt this way again.  Ever.”  She sighed and replied, “Yes, you will.  Yes, it does.  And honey, it never gets easier.”

I hate it when my mom is right.

It seems that no matter how old I get, or how much I learn, or how hard I try to be guarded, I end up holding the shards of my heart in my hands, confounded by how they got there.  Again.

I remember being in my 20’s and wondering aloud to my friend Katrina if maybe it did get easier as you got older.  I mean, it had to, right?  In every other area of life, you learn a lesson and apply it the next time to your benefit, avoiding that pitfall.  Surely, as you went through relationships, you must learn enough lessons that the intensity of  the pain subsided and you finally reached a place where you could say, with a large measure of equanimity, “Well, that just didn’t work out,” and move on without Sorrow taking you behind the woodshed for another beating.

Right?  Right???

Wrong.  Sorrow buries me alive every time.  It doesn’t get any easier, no matter how many times I cry or how many times I’ve loved or how many times I’ve thought it was going to have a different ending.  It doesn’t matter whether I end it or he does, whether someone behaved horribly badly or love just died of old age, whether I have another set of arms to run to or not.  Every single time I’ve had my heart broken, it has felt just as bad as that first time, and sometimes worse, if we’re being honest.

Last night, at Annie’s New Year’s Eve party, I spent a fair amount of time talking to a man I’d never met before.  Our conversation ranged widely, and fairly quickly our discourse passed from the mundane — “So, how old are you children?” — to the intimate — “Do you think you and your ex expressed love in the same fashion?”  At one point we were talking about sorrow and this idea that it doesn’t get easier.  We agreed that we’d both thought that the end of our marriage had to be the worst it would ever get.  Surely anything after that would feel like a mere bump in the road compared to the complete devastation of the divorce cyclone.  But again, we were wrong.  It doesn’t get easier.  It just doesn’t.

Sometimes, if she’s feeling particularly malicious, Sorrow will bring her friend Regret along for the visit.   Regret is a brutal teacher.  She brings me to my knees again and again and again.  She reminds me of the dangers of being open and taking risks. She whispers how stupid I’ve been to have trusted.  And now that I’m a mother, she blasts me for dragging my children through my idiocy.  Fortunately, I am enough of a Pollyanna that Regret usually tires of me quickly.  But her short visits are cruel indeed.

So, this morning I woke up in bed with Sorrow.  Regret, seeing that I was awake, began her tirade in my head.  I shooed them both away and picked up the phone and called Katrina.  But they will undoubtably be back again before this pain subsides.

Eventually, their work here will be done for now.  Hope will reappear and send Sorrow and Regret packing.  And I will once again start down that long road, in search of the exit that will take me to a place where I’ll never, ever have to see them again.

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25 Comments

Filed under dating, healing, love, relationships, sadness, single mom

25 responses to “sorrow pays a visit

  1. Regret…that confounding lady. She makes us question. She often brings along guilt too and they speak in our ears about our “faliures” and “idiocy”. “How could we do this to ourselves and our children?? What kind of fools are we??” They softly whisper. and those soft whisper turn into roaring doubts.
    As you have said though, we can only control our own actions. You were seeking happiness and growth.
    You found happiness and did learn that things can be different. You found growth, (the hard way).

    I feel these same things TPG. After two years it still stings. And, it doesn’t get easier. No matter how many lessons we learn or how much great advice we can give, we still fall on our own sorrow.

    But this also is a testament to your humanity. That you do keep getting up and keep looking forward. It is hard…but you keep grabbing the ropes and pulling yourslef off the canvas. I admire you.

    Hugs to you

    • Thanks, LFBA. I have been feeling quite foolish, but your comment reminded me that I went into this risk with my full heart and the best of hopeful intentions. And that is nothing of which to be ashamed. It didn’t work out as I might have hoped, but I suppose I have lots of lessons to take forward from this.

  2. I hope that these rude visitors keep away from us both in 2012:)

  3. mariaeandreu@verizon.net

    So beautiful. I won’t attempt comfort… having been in the place you are, many times, I’ve learned that it usually only comes from within, in time. All I can say is that I’m grateful you turn the pain into words that illuminate, instruct, humanize, remind. I’m so sorry you’re hurting. You’ll love again and – here my hope for you is as it is for myself – one day it won’t end in sorrow and regret. Through it all you’ll have your writing, that faithful companion that never leaves you.

    • Thanks for the reminder and the affirmation that I am possibly creating something useful from this. I know writing surely helps me clarify and process, and there are books and articles that I’ve read that literally changed my life. Every time I hit “publish,” I do so thinking that, just maybe, it might help someone feel better or see something more clearly or realize something useful about their own situation, too.

      Thanks for reading, and for commenting. 🙂

  4. The good thing about hope is that it springs eternal…… better things ahead soon!!!

  5. Heartbreak effing hurts, doesn’t it?
    Well, your mummy’s right, let it all out and do it all again. Regret is sadly inevitable, just don’t beat yourself about it. You’ve known great joys with James, and you wouldn’t if you hadn’t been your trusting and open self.
    Hugs xx

  6. Re: “…tortured by self-recrimination and regret”
    Don’t be. It’s that simple. You made the right decisions for the right decisions and it didn’t work out. That hurts, so Sorrow gets to visit for a while. But don’t kick yourself over it or let yourself feel like there’s much you could have done differently.

    Re: That first brutal lost love.
    Nothing hurts like that. I’ll never forget mine either. Someday an evolutionary psychologist will have to explain to me why that first one hurts so much, why it changes us, and deepens us, even as it rakes salty fingers across our hurting heart.

    • I’m with SD on that first heart break. Nothing hurts like that…I even wrote a post about that first cut being the deepest I think a while back.
      Anyway, different people, different perceptions I guess.
      And I agree with him on the don’t beat yourself stuff too. You could not know the outcome, you did your best, shame it didn’t pan out. x

      • I dunno…that first hurt at the time….but It’s not even a part of my consciousness and I never look back on it as a painful memory now. That was 35 years ago….and I occasionally see her when I am back home. She can barely remember thet we werre an item!! LOL 😉
        Same with the 2nd breakuo. . The breakup with my “girlfriend” (#3) before X …that one hurt bad, but ultimately it led me to X which I thought was the best thing ever but I still mourned that for 2 years and was in “not getting involved ” mode when I met X.
        This one, (#4)
        in which I had so much invested…all of me really,,,I think is pretty much untoppable.

        • LFBA,
          That’s interesting. I’ve never heard anyone dismiss the first cut like this. Is it possible that X is the order person you truly loved? (Please, I don’t mean this as an insult or attack, only that the depth of feelings you show for X and the lingering regrets are just like that very first time for me.)

          • …Order person?
            #%^$ iPhone!!
            …FIRST person…

            • LOL. X was the 3rd person I considered myself to be in love with.
              The very first person was devastating at the time, but in retrospect I was not in love with her.
              The 1st person I was in love with…(that I still feel I was in love with and not listed above)…was someone who I was never in a serious repationship with. I was leaving, we were both in college…and the logistics just did not work out. So, it hurt but we were never really together.

              The girlfriend before X started out as benefits. Then became friend with benefits…and then best-friend with benefits. We had a 6 yr, non monogomous relationship. I did not realize the depths of my feelings for her until too late (she had proclaimed being in love with me).. When that ended it hurt (in fact that story may be worthy of a post because it also describes some history between X and I). I was devastated that what seemed to be just bad timing got in the way. We re-acquainted in March 2010 after having no contact for 17 yrs. Funny…as X was finalizing her leaving, D came back into my life as a friend.

              I loved her very, very much. Even proposed to her at one point. That hurt big time, but 3 yrs later X came into my life and after we started seeing each other I did not see other women. No agreement…I just did not. I was all in with X…I mean all in. We had a family. The therapist/counselor I saw for a while claimed I reminded her of a movie line. Robert Duvall in “Get Low” said…”I didn’t know I had a heart until she walked in”
              I do think that D is the one that turned me into a human, She could never understand why things never seemed to bother me. (I was more aloof and zen then). She knew I could care, and remain detached at the same time. That ability is gone now because she changed me. Some say for the better….

  7. emdashwood

    So eloquent, and so true…

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