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"How Is Your Heart?"

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

I've managed to get through one of the most traumatic, emotionally draining years that I've ever had (I will share the specifics in future posts). As I continued to balance work, life, and my latest role as a single parent- all while grieving- I figured that I was doing a pretty good job of looking better than I felt.

While most people commented on my upbeat demeanor and told me that I looked happy, those in my inner circle could tell that I was struggling internally. Although there were many things in my life that were worth celebrating, the weight of the past year was evident in my face- in fact, one of my best friends says that she can always gauge how I'm REALLY feeling by looking at my eyes. I recently connected with one of my close friends and she immediately greeted me with a long, intentional hug- you know, the ones that are guaranteed to produce tears and that silent sob. She asked me how I was, and I replied with my typical rehearsed smile, "I'm good!" Then she asked me something that no one else had: "How is your heart?" THAT was a totally different answer, and she knew it!

The truth is, I'd been operating on autopilot for so long that I'd ignored the condition of my heart. I'd attempted to fill the ever-present void by busying myself; the problem was that the constant socializing left me both physically and emotionally drained. It did, however, provide an escape from reality, even if it was only for a few hours.

While I appeared to be the life of the party, I was still grappling with the loss of my mom, who was my best friend and the center of my life as I knew it. Four years later, and I was still struggling with the fact that I felt like an orphan. A 42-year-old orphan. In my darkest moments, I'd even decided that I would much rather be with my mom; I saw no reason to continue on this side of life. The pain was unbearable and even though I found myself constantly surrounded by people, I still felt very much alone. It was then that I was reminded that my mom was completely full of life and joy while she was here. I owed it to her memory and legacy to live a full and happy life, and she'd never want her legacy to be that her death ultimately killed me, too. I've learned that each day presents an opportunity to work on my heart, because the truth is, I'd been existing and functioning with a completely broken heart. I've become more intentional with my time, only engaging in activities that fill my cup (guided meditation and yoga have worked wonders for me!). Spending hours upon hours in bookstores and vintage record shops have also become part of my self-care routine...and then there's Starbucks. Need I say more?

If you're reading this and are currently wading through the murky waters of grief, I encourage you to find out what fills your cup. The reality is that grief never completely goes away; we just learn how to exist within the new normal. That's why it's so important to identify those things that bring joy and comfort.

And if you're reading this and have a friend or loved one who is struggling with loss, please know that even you can't fill the void and "How are you?" may seem generic, one of the best things that you can do is simply ask, "How is your heart?" Thanks, D.

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This was very good. Thank you for sharing your story. This article definitely allows the reader to become vulnerable as we read and take us right to the point of a self care check-in hot spot that we really over look❤️. I found myself saying outloud damn I went through something similar or I get it. I need to do that too. This was a good quick Read as well. I’m looking forward to the next one. I’ll be asking people moving forward how’s your heart! What a good place to check in with one’s self.

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