It’s difficult to open your heart when its been broken time and time again.
The first time I remember having it broken was losing my best friend and cousin, Darren. We were born one month apart. Playmates at a young age; but things began to change when we were about six. He kept falling down, and needed help getting up. Next thing I knew he was in a wheel chair. A few years later, bed-ridden with all manner of machines hooked into him to help his body keep functioning. Then, he was gone. Dead just shy of our fourteenth birthdays.
He had Duchene Muscular Dystrophy.
It was at a young age when I learned that we don’t live forever; that our bodies were fragile. Mortal. And that death was a very real thing.
Parents are supposed to be our protectors. Not just for our physical safety, but of our emotional well-being. But, even parents are humans…flawed…scarred…and their own hurtful pasts can sometime hurt the ones they loved the most. As a child, it was hard to see this though; especially when one of them continuously tore you down with damaging words, that you’re not good enough, that you were at fault for their current troubles, and that you don’t deserve anything except pain and hell. That same parent would continue to pound and belittle until they get the desired outcome…tears.
Hence, I learned to associate tears with being weak.
When I was seventeen, our family’s true matriarch, my surrogate mother and emotional rock as a child, my Grandmother, passed away of Emphysema.
Once in college, I turned my focus to hopes and dreams of a better, brighter future; however, at the age of twenty-one, I learned I was going blind. As a result, I gave up on my dreams.
Two years later, I met and married Aaron. I thought that perhaps my life will start to turn for the better; I was wrong. Less than two years later, he died as a result of a car accident.
Twenty years ago today. And I can still remember the events of that fateful day as if they just happened. The heart never forgets no matter how hard you try to push it away.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the last of my losses.
I remarried three years later. He was my best friend from college who knew of my emotional scars, my hopes and dreams, my anger…everything. Over four years into our marriage, I was nearly eight months pregnant, he began to have growing issues with breathing. He went to our family doctor who ran a series of tests on him. Next thing we knew, he was being transported to the hospital. His diagnosis: Pericarditis. They admitted him, and immediately performed an emergency operation to drain the fluid that had its death grip around his heart. But, that wasn’t the end of it. Doctors were unsure if this was viral or bacterial. Bacterial would require a heart transplant. So, while they ran further tests, they pumped antibiotics into his body. It would be days before we’d learned that it was viral, not bacterial.
Ever since this event, intimacy has been an issue with me.
Five years after our son was born, I became pregnant again; only to lose that baby.
My latest loss? My Dad who passed away less than two years ago from an aggressive lung disease. He was only sixty-seven.
Now, I realize that death is a normal part of living. The same goes for pain. But there comes a point though when one suffers so much of both that they shut down emotionally to try and protect what’s left of their heart and soul. The problem is that I have placed such a tight lid on my emotions, I don’t know how to open it.
The real question though- Do I really want to open it?