Heartache. We all experience it. Sometimes it is just a little jab, just enough to get your attention. Other times, it is a full-on stab, dead center. Direct hit. Hit and sink.
We feel it as children. When we are separated from our parents – the longing, the fear, the aching in our chest and belly. When will we see them again? Will they forget us? Or when we make them angry – the anxiety and distress. When will we be forgiven and allowed back into the fold?
As we mature, the heartache matures. We go to school, to college, the army, to work. We fall in love, move-in together, move out, fall in love again, get married, get divorced. We rent, we buy, we sell a house or two. We have friends at school, at work and in every neighborhood of our lives. Some we keep forever, some fade away. Throughout the progression of our lives, we continue to experience heartache. We are invariably leaving something behind or getting left behind and are in an erratic state of loss.
As a mother, heartache is part of both the bonding and the severance package with your children. You experience it at their first tear and that mewling cry of birth. With every broken heart or fight with a best friend; every emergency room visit; every injury no matter how small; every sorrow and regret, for whatever reason; you are right in there – weeping the same tears – seeking ways to comfort, to heal.
It doesn’t matter if they are 4 or 50 – you feel their heartache as your own. Oh sure, we can try to detach; to live our own lives – to let them figure things out without getting emotionally entangled. Good luck with that. This is the flesh of your flesh. You birthed that being. Even though that umbilical cord was long ago severed, the connection remains. Like a wispy opaque line that lingers…drifting quietly between the two of you, you feel it more than see it.
Sometimes you can feel that line even if you haven’t birthed that person. Perhaps they are a sibling, a friend, a child of your heart. And with that line, inevitably, heartache follows. It does not discriminate.
Most of us can feel heartache for complete strangers. It is the impetus for us to DO something to help any being in need, to try to ease their heartache. We can’t alleviate heartache for everyone and, often, not even for those we love the most. But feeling it, trying to understand it, and showing concern can sometimes be enough.
Sometimes, just holding on to that wispy line can be enough.