It’s not broken, it just needs rearranging.

My grandmother told me you can’t die of a broken heart. But I never got to ask her if you could die after several broken hearts. She also said that you could only cry over something for 24 hours and then you needed to stop it and move on. I never got to ask her if the 24 hours applied to broken hearts or anything in general.  There is a big difference and I am heartbroken that she is no longer around to ask the answer.   

When she was sick she would put on multiple nightgowns (at once), put a pile   next to her bed, drink tea, honey and whiskey; crawl under a mountain of blankets and “sweat it out”. Sweat, change the nightgowns, sweat some more, drink more homeopathic brew and repeat the process.  The key in the process was to leave her completely alone.  No coddling, no helping, just leave her in peace. (And it was peaceful, she never complained.) Her bedroom had only three walls and the other wall was a long curtain that ran the length of the hallway, which was just over the open staircase. It sounds strange but it was all we knew so it seemed completely normal. It was probably a sitting room, which later became a bedroom as the family grew or guests took up space.  What it really meant was that you had to climb the creaky stairs carefully as not to disturb her. This was not easy.

Before we visited she baked, she cooked, she canned, she supplied an army of food even if it was just for my small four person family. I lost my grandfather when I was little so this process, in my life, was just one that she did alone and she seemed to love it. I sure did!

As I live my life, as do most, surrounded by people, technology and an endless to do list, sometimes I find myself in pieces. Then add something like a broken heart or confused mind, and the pieces seem to scatter like a bottle dropped on a craggy sidewalk. It doesn’t matter who agrees or disagrees with my emotions, doesn’t matter whose fault anything is, the emotions are mine; no one can really walk in another’s shoes. No one can ever truly know what is on your mind, nor can you know what they are thinking. It is all you; beautiful you.

Hence my Grandmother’s teaching in taking time alone to care for yourself finally makes sense to me. Be with yourself and no one else. You are the whole, you are the pieces, you are in charge of the rearranging. You may think that finding this time is impossible, but it is imperative to a human’s ability to feel whole again, to be creative, to be insightful, to do gre­­at things. It is the only way to get to the ocean of who we are and hear the wisdom that lies within; to find the knowledge and insight that we have stored away too deep to access in a fleeting moment.

The old adage “the answer lies within” is quite true.

This is where meditation and mindfulness for over thirty years has helped me at times keep my pieces all in one place and over time to be able to rearrange, reassess and recreate a life of wholeness. At the end of the day we are blessed to be surrounded by good people, but the best of those is you.

Thanks Grandma, I think I finally get it. 

We can all withstand many broken hearts, illnesses and tearful moments with a little time alone; be it in bed, in the kitchen or just writing it down.  

Meditation rocks as you can use it in small doses each day without having to lock yourself in your bedroom.  Of course if you do have the chance to escape for a few days alone … do it!


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