How can I help you to say goodbye?

I have felt loss. I have had to put a beloved pet to sleep. I have had my heart broken countless times. I’ve been divorced twice. I’ve been beaten, abused, molested, emotionally tortured, screamed at, hated, despised, and treated like a pariah.

Nothing…NOTHING…can touch the pain I feel as my daughter’s body is wracked with sobs, as she keens out her pain, as her bed, her clothes, and my shoulder are all drenched in her tears.

When I was pregnant with her, my closest friend at the time had a daughter who was going to be a year older than Aubrey. She also had a son who was about four years older than her daughter, and of course, I had Matt. One night, we were watching the kids play, and talking about how much we loved them. She said it was different, though, with her daughter. I said I would love both of my children equally. She explained that it wasn’t about equality. She summed it up with these words, “You would die for both of your kids, but you would kill for your daughter.” When Aubrey was born and I held her in my arms, I finally understood.

Now, as she suffers her current broken heart, a heartbreak caused by someone who has already caused her pain in the past, I feel that difference once again. However, his death will not heal her heart, nor make her stop loving him, although I would sleep with a smile on my face.

So now my job is to somehow take his place for a while. Now I am the one who holds her while she cries. I am the one who cuddles her close, while she is curled into a fetal position, howling with grief. I remember exactly how this feels, and it hurts me even more. I know the actual physical pain that is caused by the loss of a great love, and it is unbearable. Yet, all I can do for her is just be here.

A few months ago, I wrote about her leaving for college, and my not having time to teach her how to heal from a broken heart. Ah, be careful for what one wishes. Now she must learn the lesson of picking up what few pieces are left, and putting them back together. I could tell her that life goes on, she’ll love again, I know it hurts but I promise it will get better. But none of those things will help her. Her innocence is gone, and she will never love the same way again. Such is the nature of first love.

I wish I could tell her that she only has to feel this way once, but that would mean she would never love again, and I don’t want her to miss out on the joy that comes with a new love. However, I know my daughter, and I know the love that she lost. She has loved him since she was 13, and I know that she will love him until the day she dies. While I think she will eventually love someone else, they will never be the one that she truly wants, as no one else has ever been able to fill his shoes.

The saddest part is that he loves her. Oh, he said that he was only pretending the entire six months they were together this latest time, but everyone who ever saw them together knows that’s a lie, unless he could carry an Oscar-worthy performance for half a year. I can’t count the number of times I watched him with her when he didn’t know I was looking. When she was sleeping, he would lie there and watch her, touching her face, stroking her hair, gazing at her with a look of wonder that she could possibly be in his arms. I loved seeing them together, because I knew that he loved her, and I loved how happy he made  her. I loved how happy she made him, as he needed her love just as much as she needed his.

As I write this, I hear her in her room, listening and singing along to Pink’s “I Don’t Believe You” and I can hear the sobs in her voice. I have to agree with both of them. I don’t believe him either. However, it doesn’t matter. For whatever reason he has decided, he is gone, just like the last time, and the time before that. He is no better at leaving her now than he was then. His method of choice is cruelty and hurt, as if he is trying to kill all of her love for him right out of her. He is a master with words, and is vicious in their use. Because he knows every intimate detail of her life, because she trusted him with her life, her love, her heart, because he ASKED her to trust him, asked her to love him, asked her to please forgive him, told her that she was the reason he had never loved anyone else (that is the one thing that I do believe, by the way)…because of all those things, he knows exactly what arrow will pierce her armor. He should, as he is the one who built it. Indeed, only a great love can bring such a great hurt.

“Mama whispered softly, time will ease your pain
Life’s about changing, nothing ever stays the same…

And she said, How can I help you to say goodbye?
It’s OK to hurt, and it’s OK to cry
Come, let me hold you and I will try
How can I help you to say goodbye?”


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