Rearranged Heart



“Hope you are ‘Moving forward with your life.’…..’moving on’……….’Getting over it'”

All of these well-intentioned bits of advice appear to imply disengaging your heart from the loved one you’ve lost and proceeding with your life…But that’s not how it seems to me.

At our wedding, my brother-in-law and his younger brother sang these moving lyrics from West Side Story: “Make of our hearts one heart, Day after day, one heart…” The words continue: “….Even death won’t part us now”.   (We took liberties with the lyrics and changed them from the faithless: “Only death will part us now.”)

I still feel a sense of connection–but in a different way. While I no longer get to rest in that almost palpable sense of “we” I used to find security and comfort in, neither do I feel the severing and leaving behind that “moving on” would imply was necessary.

Instead, in the center of my chest I carry a sort of nest. And placed within it is a collection of smooth gemstones, each one formed of memories–condensed down, pressed together–of those most valued people I have loved and lost. My heart carries these stones tucked away–nestled within it.

The loss of Steve is the newest addition to the collection–kept company by my wonderful, soft grandmother, my fellow-adventurer cousin, his mother and my favorite generous-hearted aunt, two longed-for babies I miscarried.

So experience has taught me that with each loss my heart is changed, reshaped, as it learns how to “hold” the newest addition. I know how to do this. (Maybe your experience is different.)   But I’m not “moving on” or “moving away” from my life with Steve. Instead, I’m moving with him, carrying him always in my changed heart.

Will I move forward with life? Yes. But our love and this loss have changed my heart, for always. So Steve goes with me. I carry him in my rearranged heart.