How The Heart Heals

“And thus the heart will break, yet brokenly live on” — George Gordon Byron

I struggle to describe this week.  All of the adjectives in my  mind seem to collide with one another in a frenetic game of bumper cars.  Contrasting realities – awful, horrific, mind-numbing, tragic, senseless, obscene, heartbreaking; life-affirming, connectedness, heroic, powerful, humbling, breathtaking, faithful.

Some people don’t do well with lots of stimuli – I’m one of them.  It’s why I hate the mall.  Too much going on that is competing for my attention and focus.  This week makes a trip to the mall look positively mundane.

I was in the city on 9/11;  in the Sears Tower (as it was called then – now the Willis Tower) two days later and flew to the Library Tower in LA thereafter.  My mom thought the firm was asking too much and was a wreck while I was gone.  I really think that had she known who to call, she would have dialed immediately and railed against anyone who had arrived at this decision.  Other than that, the trips were all about being there and not being rattled, reassuring those who needed it and confirming our collective strategy for responding to this serendipitous element of the new normal.

Of course, as this week shows there is no strategy for these traumatic reminders of the new normal.  The new normal wrenches us out of our skin, changes the rhythm of the day into a monotone dirge that quietly plays on an endless loop. Daily stressors are too much to bear, everything that is routine is somehow, not.  I found myself in tears for no reason (when of course there were all the reasons in the world), sitting with my body wrapped around itself, trying to contain this inexplicable sorrow, covering my mouth so the screams would remain silent while they vibrated through my body.  Did I even hear the birds engaged in their gossipy conversation over these past few days?  I don’t think so.

The collective release of tension in Boston last night infused my soul with light (and the hearts of many I am sure).  To see such joy and gratitude after these incomprehensibly tragic days returns my heart to baseline.  The treadmill begins to slow, the incline is less arduous.  The music changes – not necessarily exuberant, though hopeful.  And when I walked the Sirs this morning, I heard the birds engaged in a rockin’ game of Marco Polo.  And with a heart that is bruised, perhaps even broken, we return to our lives.

32 thoughts on “How The Heart Heals

  1. Oh my sweet friend, you write so, so beautifully. You have captured the rhythm of this tumultuous week so perfectly.

    I, too, felt the percussive wave of relief flow out from Boston last night when the second bomber was apprehended and felt so grateful for the many brave souls who voluntarily lay their lives on the line to keep others safe.

    And yes, a bit of normalcy returns this morning. When I walked out the door with the dogs and felt the gentle rain on my face, I felt like nature, too, was weeping with relief that this week has come to a close. May your weekend be filled with song….

    • I had the benefit of ‘talking’ with you throughout the week, so I know how our feelings ran parallel (yet again – though arguably you run faster than I do..;-)). Weeping with relief, yes..I think that’s poignantly true. Have a wonderful day honey replete with love..xoxo, m

  2. I am so glad you “took to the road” this morning. The country’s collective sigh of relief was audible and your words help put all the horror and sadness of the past week in clear perspective. Your choice of words resonate, as I knew they would, as we acknowledge that life as we thought we knew it will never be the same. I watched, from afar, as Jenna drove home from NY to just a little outside of Boston yesterday. My heart in my mouth, cognitively thinking, because never again will I feel secure enough to know anything regarding safety, she ‘d be okay. Yet, emotionally nonplussed that she’d be on the Mass Pike during a shoot -out with the police and the suspect (yes overworked and vivid imagery is my forte). As a mother it is my “job” and right to worry. I’ve earned that. But this week, we’ve learned that fear and worry for each other is not limited to a mother’s worry for her child. The circle is now infinitely wider to include all humanity. Just how much can the heart hold? Your last sentence sums it up so very eloquently, “a heart that is bruised, perhaps even broken…” A glass of wine tonight perhaps to toast to healing? PS Jenna made it home safely. She lives far enough outside the city. She told me I worry too much. I told her that I fear “she ain’t seen nothin’ yet”. Today’s journey with the Karma Truck was epic; as always blessed to have it drive down my street. To the moon and back ❤

    • I’m so relieved to know that Jenna is safe and sound. And yes, I think a glass of wine is in order. Thank you for always being there to take this drive with me. This week certainly held its share of disquieting terrain..to the moon and back my dear friend..xox

  3. Holding my breath all day yesterday (although I followed on the internet – I simply can’t do news on TV) I felt Boston exhale psychically, I think, as did I. Thank you for this beautiful piece of writing, Mimi. It describe my own feelings so well.
    Cathy

    • Holding our collective breath – yes that’s it exactly Cathy. And we exhale yet feel equivocal release…Thank you for stopping by my friend, thank you

  4. “The new normal”. I don’t like it, but it unfortunately seems to be ever repeating. I spent the day in San Francisco yesterday, and with Boston in my subconscious, memories of 9/11 kept tapping on my brain too. I was in the City that day, was working there then, and it was scary. Yesterday, I walked down sunny streets filled with office workers spilling out onto the street for lunch, tourists and locals enjoying the day. Were we safe? We never know.

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  6. I know what you’re talking about, Mimi. Living in Jerusalem, we’ve had to go through many attacks like that. Still aching from one, and there was another. And I think your opening quote from George Byron answers the questions about healing the heart. And to tell you the truth, after having experienced quite a lot in that area, including being witness to some things that I don’t feel the need to recount them here… I’m not sure about the way to deal with it. I think that every person has to find his own way, and best to learn something from the experience, though I know that some people can’t possibly learn from such a trauma. My heart goes out to all who have suffered.

    • Thank you Shimon, thank you. I too share the uncertainty as to how the heart continues to beat, some times in spite of itself. One of my most ardent wishes is that we learn from experience, that we permit history to teach us lessons so desperately needed to be learn.

  7. thank you for perfectly describing everything I’ve been feeling and experiencing too. I have a hard time putting things into words…I guess that’s why I’m a photographer.

  8. I popped by and found myself re-reading this, and have to say: that quote with which you begin this piece is a perfect mood setter. A “tears to eyes” mood setter, and: “oh the humanity”…you are really such an insightful writer.

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