Right now somewhere close by, or far, far away a person is crying.
Soft tears are rolling down a cheek. Hard tears are heaving up a chest. This is no fun.
No matter the type of tears, they are courtesy of a common human ailment—a broken heart.
I remember my first one—Alice Buffalo. I met her at a week long Methodist youth fellowship retreat at North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount.
This relationship had no chance. Alice was from Rocky Mount. I lived in Burlington. But, we must have thought anything was possible because I remember writing letters. Of course, there were some faint hearted plans for Alice to come to Burlington for a weekend, but that never happened.
My father knew something about broken hearts. At some point during his World War II service in the Navy, his first marriage ended. Apparently, while he was away, my sweet, kindhearted father was dumped for an officer.
I never talked with him about his broken heart. I sense my mother, his second wife, must have helped his heart to heal.
I don’t think we can be immune from a broken heart. To my knowledge scientists haven’t created a vaccine.
Poets, authors, screenwriters, and songwriters have written quite a bit about broken hearts.
Since November, I’ve been keeping track of friends whose hearts have been broken.
I think the worst type of broken heart is the blindside.
Ending a relationship by blindsiding the unsuspecting receiver is cruel.
With this news, the receiver’s heart and mind accelerate into a mad chaos.
The tears are horrid. Chest convulsions are like seismic shifts. Gasping lungs want to breathe. The heart is thrust into overdrive with an out of control propulsion of beats.
The blindside isn’t pretty. It deeply wounds a heart.
As a father, I know this blindsided heart.
We have a dear friend who survived a challenging divorce. I think our friend is a gentleman. No matter the difficulties created from the divorce, he has put his heart into maintaining his relationships with his daughters.
Despite his efforts, one daughter didn’t see it that way. She would not allow him to attend her wedding and give her away. Our friend’s heart is crushed. Mentally, he keeps questioning his heart, racking his brain asking himself over and over again—what did I do wrong?
There is never a good time for a broken heart, but Christmas is a bad choice.
Another friend was on his way to spend Christmas Day with his grown children, a former wife, and the wife’s family. Yes, I’m sure there would have been some awkward moments, but our friend’s children were really looking forward to seeing him.
As our friend was driving to this gathering, he received a phone call from his very distraught daughter. She was calling to tell him that he had been uninvited to this Christmas Day event. That phone call broke the heart of our friend and his two children.
Shortly after the start of the New Year, I received a call from a former elderly neighbor. I was hesitant to take the call, but my brainless heart talked me into it.
For a variety of reasons, our former neighbor is basically estranged from his children. That was the purpose of his call to complain about his children and everything related to his current living arrangements.
All I could do was listen. His mind, his stubborn heart would not budge on his assessment and opinions. Nothing I could say would persuade him that his brokenhearted children would be willing to talk with his unbending heart.
Warren Zevon was a very gifted songwriter, musician, and singer. You might remember his songs “Werewolves of London” and “Excitable Boy.” Additionally, Mr. Zevon’s songs were recorded by other singers most notably—Linda Ronstadt.
Sadly, Mr. Zevon died in 2003 from cancer. When diagnosed with cancer, he committed to recording a new album titled The Wind. The last song on the album “Keep Me In Your Heart” is a pretty, but sad tune about the end Mr. Zevon is facing.
He ask listeners to “keep me in your heart for a while.”
Amazon’s Alexa sits on the marble top of an old piece of furniture in our kitchen. If I were to shout out, “Alexa how do you repair a broken heart,” I wonder how she might respond?
Sometimes, I catch myself in a daydream going back to life’s bad moments when I know my words, my actions— hurt hearts. If I could only reclaim, retract that meanness.
Doesn’t matter whose heart has been broken, what that person needs to know from me and you comes from Mr. Zevon—“keep me in your heart for a while.”
Maybe that’s how broken hearts are repaired.
We keep those loved ones, those friends in our heart for a while, or for as long as they need us.