Tag Archive | heartbreak

The Grief That Lies Beneath Part 1


“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die…A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1 – 2,4

11 November 2012, a day that I am far from forgetting. It started off like any other Sunday morning, rushed around the house getting ready for church and tried not to be late once again. I was happy and excited about a new outfit that I was wearing; black and white floral knee-length dress, pale blue cardigan teamed with peach and pale blue wedges and matching bag. I remember all too well because I had found the shoes and bag the day before and I was all too excited to wear an outfit so bright and perfectly coordinated to church. For the first time in about ten months I was wearing make up to church. I had decided earlier in the year to stop after I was moved to tears the one day and looked like a hot mess! I don’t know whether it was the new outfit that inspired me to try again, but for some reason I did on that day. I met my mom and aunt in the kitchen as I was walking out and they complimented me on how pretty I looked. I giggled and did a little twirl at my mom’s request before grabbing my bag and heading out the door. I thought of going to say bye to my gran but thought against it because I was scared to wake her up. Well that’s what I told myself but when I thought about it later, I just wanted to avoid getting into any argument about me going to church. I have wished virtually everyday in the past five and a half months that I would have gone in to see her, had I known….

Much of what happened from the time I left home at about 7:30am till the middle of the second service at 11:30 remains a blur. I just remember my one friend saying she hasn’t seen me this happy and relaxed in a long time. I also remember another telling me about how he senses that I am coming into a season of great blessing in my life but just as God starts to shower me with blessings, I step away from underneath the downpour. To this day I have never been able to decipher that message and it doesn’t help that he didn’t want to explain it to me either. For reasons that only made sense afterwards, I was a bit agitated that day and I kept my phone on during church which was out of character. In the middle of the service I felt it vibrate, I reached into my bag for it and I froze when I read my cousin’s BBM message: “Gran is gone.” With as much composure as I could muster, I showed my phone to my friend sitting next to me and started gathering my things and walking out trying not to cause too much disruption. It wasn’t until I was outside waiting for a friend to drive me home that I started crying. I cried all the way home and my heart felt like it was being ripped out of my chest. I was hit by guilt of not being home with her harder than grief that she was gone.

When I made it home I was greeted at the gate by our helper who told me to stop crying, my gran’s not dead they’ve just taken her to the hospital. Somehow I didn’t believe her but I tried my best to stop crying and I went into my room and I called my other cousin to ask him what’s going on and he said no they’ve taken my gran to the hospital with my mom and aunt. I distinctly remember asking if she was alive and him saying yes. I asked which hospital and told him I was on my way to them. I was barely out of the gate when he called me back to tell me to go back home, my gran was gone. A fresh batch of tears flooded my face from nowhere and I didn’t stop crying until my mom, aunt and cousin eventually came home from the hospital, their screams and cries said all I needed to know and confirmed that yes, this was very real, my last surviving grandparent was finally gone.

In the hours that followed I kept crying and searching for clues of what I had missed. I was devastated as I recalled my last conversation with her on Friday night. I had come home from work and walked into the room to find her sitting up on the bed, looking well and in high spirits. I was pleasantly surprised and I said to her: “Wow you look so much better!” and we had a little laugh about it. Little did I know that those would be my last conversation with her! Saturday I was out shopping and hanging out with my friends and when I got home I walked into the room to check on her she was sleeping. I took a nap and by the time I woke up again the rest of my family was sleeping so thought it best not to check up on her lest I woke her up.

I’ve tried to process her death and make sense of why I am consumed with grief, why when I think I am out of the woods then it hits me all over again. It doesn’t make sense because my three grandparents all passed away when I was old enough to understand what was going so she wasn’t the first grandparent I had lost. Death was nothing new to me because just a month before on October 10, my cousin who was just two months older than me passed away after a very short illness. Her death shouldn’t have been a surprise to me because for starters, as so many people were kind enough to point out, she was in her 80s and therefore old and expected to die. Secondly she had been ill for a few months and had been living with us for about three months leading up to her death. As I sit here remembering all the times my heart would jump to my throat if my mother phoned me while I was at work or when I tip toed into her room in the mornings before I went to work or the evenings when I came back, I realise that I had known that her time was near. Why did it hurt so badly then when it finally happened? Why does it still hurt so badly then as if it was a sudden death that no one could have foreseen?

I feel I am long way from recovering and healing from the loss of my gran but I am somewhat consoled when I look back at how far I have come and have made a few discoveries on I have struggled more with this loss than any other loss. Firstly, the grief and regret of not saying good-bye to her and realising that I will never get a chance to do that still has a very firm grip on my heart. Secondly, I am still carrying the burden of words said to and about me leading up to and after her death.

For some reason it is easier for me to believe that I would feel much better had I been home that Sunday and not been at church rather than to accept that I was exactly where I should have been and that my Father who knows me better than I know myself knew that I wasn’t strong enough to see her life end like that. I will always remember my gran as a woman of great strength and courage. My grandfather passed away when I was eight years old and so she spent the last twenty years of her life on her own. Although my mom and aunt helped her out here and there, she always wanted to remain independent and she sewed and sold what she sewed to supplement her pension money and provide for herself. She never wanted to feel like a burden on anyone and was always strong and full of so much wisdom. To me she was a shining example of a Psalm 31 woman. So how could a force like that be gone so easily?

Truth be told looking back she really did put up a fight. From my mother’s accounts and her speech at both the wake and funeral, I came to realise just how much pain my gran had been in in those final months. So maybe I was just never meant to see her in her weakened state so that I always remembered her for the strong woman she was? Maybe God knew I was not strong enough and so shielded me from it all? Was that how my family had justified in their minds them not telling me that they had been up since 3am with my grandmother and that she was in a bad state when I left for church that morning? Is that how they had justified not calling me to tell me what happened and tell me to come home and yet others called? And still, despite all this, my mother was still able to say to me just hours after her death that I should have been at home, I shouldn’t have left that morning and it is those words that have imprisoned for months, unable to find absolution no matter how much I rationalised, prayed or talked about it.

Among Memories and Pieces of My Broken Heart


“You see the smile that’s on my mouth, it’s hiding the words that don’t come out. All of the friends who think I’m blessed, they don’t know I’m in this mess…”  ~ The Story, Brandi Carlile

Some people walk into and then out of your lives again before you even have time to acknowledge their presence. Others walk out and leave a lingering, haunting presence; the kind you cannot shake no matter how badly you want them to be erased from your memory. Memory, I believe is nature’s way of torturing broken hearts; much like my own. I resemble a lost soul that is tortured and caught in limbo between two worlds. I have been left behind in the graveyard where unburied pieces of my broken heart lay scattered. I have nothing to keep me company except old memories which threaten to swallow me whole. I know turning back is not an option, so I try to pick up the pieces as I move forward but when I look around me I am disappointed by just how little I have achieved. I want to cry or even shout out for help but then I realise my voice just won’t come out. So here I sit, among memories and pieces of my broken heart; unable to cry and unable to feel and unrecognisable to myself.

Seven weeks ago my life made sense. Seven weeks ago my life was filled with hope and promise. The harsh Scottish winter was finally giving way to the promise of spring and with it bringing me some much-needed light in what felt like the longest winter in my life. I was finally starting to feel a bit at home in this country, with its unfamiliar and oftentimes temperamental weather. I was finding my place at work and not hating it as much. Most of all my heart didn’t hurt as much from the pain caused by the one who’d disappeared out of my life with no explanation and without a trace. Looking back I ask myself whether I was just being naive for thinking I deserved the little bit of sunshine that I was starting to see peering from behind dark clouds that always seemed to hang close to me.

May 3,2011 will be etched in my brain forever. I will forever remember it as the day one misunderstanding sent a carefully spun web of lies and deceit crashing down. I will forever remember it as the day I discovered that the house I once thought was solid enough to withstand being separated by thousands of miles not only had cracks in the foundation, but was built on quicksand.

If you had asked me before this day to describe myself in as many words as I could think of, I would have come up with an impressive list ranging from determined, resilient to overly sensitive and somewhat aggressive. Gullible, unperceptive, stupid and home wrecker would not have made their way onto that list. But ever since discovering that I spent almost two years loving a man who had no intention of ever telling me that I was his filthy secret he had no intention of airing out, those are the new words I use to describe myself.

Day after day I replay separate segments of my relationship with him and I keep on asking the same question, over and over again, “HOW DID I MISS THIS? Did I learn nothing from the previous relationship that ended in a similar fashion?” As much as I am filled with hundreds of questions for him, I will never ask them because I know he has no intention of ever being honest with me. If he did would I have found out six months later from someone else that he was engaged? If he had cared at all for my well-being would he have started any form of relationship with me knowing his intentions. What kind of supposedly God-fearing man walks into your life, claims to understand your situation and that you are fragile and vows to look after your interests and to try never hurt you, knowing…knowing….knowing he grinds away your heart with every calculated step and action?

How does one get over this? I have been trying to figure this out every day for the 49 days and I don’t seem to be any closer to an answer. Instead I am still utterly humiliated, angry, baffled, depressed and filled with more hatred than I can bear to admit. My heart has become so hardened; I refuse to let more than a handful of people in anymore. Once trusted confidants might as well be strangers that I have just met. Strangers are kept on a simple one strike system, after all it was giving someone the benefit of doubt, multiple chances and wavering boundaries that got me into this mess. My mind will not let me feel anything for longer than a fleeting moment. All the while I smile,never acknowledging the hollow pain in the cavity where my heart once rested. And where is he while all this is happening? He is living his life, planning his wedding, buying baby clothes and preparing for the imminent arrival of his bundle of joy. Completely oblivious to the pain he impregnated my life with. And what is to become of my joy?

With this experience, my once clear vision has failed me to the point that I cannot see beyond the horizon. Whilst I have faith that God will heal my heart and make me whole once more, I do not think I can ever love another quite the same way again. My friendships will never be as innocent and doubt-free. Acquaintances will never be welcomed with the same openness and enthusiasm. My intuition and discernment failed me and now I don’t know if will ever be able to completely trust myself again let alone trust another man enough to want to build a life with them.

I lost the part of me that I treasured most that day, leaving me so debilitated by pain I have to wonder who the empty shell that stares back at me is every time I walk past a mirror. Sometimes I pray for God to allow me to cry but my tears are held captive behind an impenetrable wall I am not allowed through. Consequently I spend many sleepless nights and countless hours silently watching the memories float one by one in remarkable clarity and detail in front of my eyes. I let them play on and silently pray that they will wear themselves out and someday I will wake up and find myself free from their captivity. Until then I sit here, just me and these persistent, unwanted memories trying to make sense of it all, trying very hard to assemble the scattered pieces of my broken heart.

The Other Woman


“My heart was blinded by you. I’ve kissed your lips and held your hand.Shared your dreams and shared your bed. I know you well, I know your smell. I’ve been addicted to you. Goodbye my lover. Goodbye my friend…” ~ Goodbye My Lover, James Blunt

Today I find myself intimidated by the blinking cursor on my screen.I know what I want to write but the memories of the events that have led to this point threaten to open the floodgates that have remained securely closed since the day I made the discovery that shook my whole existence. It would be easier to shut my computer down, switch off my side lamp, pull the duvet over my head and go to sleep, burying for another day what lies in my heart but I won’t. Doing so will only be an admission that this is the end of me which it isn’t. This is just an end of a painful chapter in my life, even as I type that a smile crosses my face because I know this is an important step.

February 2008 I met a guy who I did not pay much attention to because to me he was just another guy at work and I happened to be madly in love with my boyfriend with whom I was piecing together our relationship after it was blown apart the year before. Over the year that followed we became friends and even worked together on a client in August 2008. Still I felt nothing because well I still had a five and half year relationship I was focused on. Funny thing about the things we focus on though, they don’t stop disintegrating simply because we are focusing on them!

January 15, 2009 was the day I was dumped. I received an IM from the then love of my life telling me he was tired and our six year relationship was over. We didn’t need to discuss it in person he said. He was just tired and he wanted out there was nothing more to it. There was no other woman, he still loved me but he couldn’t do this anymore. So somewhere in the midst of all that focusing I had missed all of this completely!

 His supposed unhappiness which seemed very sudden to me was not the only thing I had missed. As I later discovered, I had missed the other woman in his life. How long had she been there? To this day I do not know and do not want to know. What I do know though is that they got engaged in a conveniently short amount of time for people who only started dating after I was out the picture.

In the months that followed I spent my time nursing my broken-heart. February is simply a haze, I do not remember how I got through it but I pulled through. People often told me that the best way to get over someone was to find someone else, so that’s exactly what I did. I went out, had fun and met a few hotties in the process. 

By the time April rolled around I was all hottie’d out and was taking a breather from the men with good genes so when my friend re-entered my life in mid-April it was a welcomed relief. He’d been on holiday for a few months and our differing client commitments ensured that we hadn’t crossed paths in close to six months. In that time he’d moved up the ladder and moved departments and had bought a new car that he was quite excited to show me so Wednesday April 29th was set as the evening he’d come visit and we would catch up. 

We had a fantastic night on the Wednesday, I cooked, we ate and watched tv and just chatted. Thursday he was back at my place again. This time we stayed up till 6am watching movies, chatting and laughing the night away. It was somewhere in between that he confessed that he had liked me since the day we had sat down to write part one of our board exam. He hadn’t said anything to me because I had a boyfriend and he was respecting our relationship though at times he did try show me he liked me and I just never noticed. I sat there laughing at him as he recounted all the little gestures that I was supposed to have realised were signs of his affection. Before he left in the morning we kissed and I was instantly hooked on him. Sunday the 3rd of May we talked about what the kiss had meant and from there decided to build a romantic relationship.

That relationship lasted close to 18 months  and as far as I knew it was still in progress when he moved cities end of September 2010, six weeks before I was to leave the country. However, I was wrong because the week after he moved he stopped answering my calls and replying to my messages and that was that. For the past seven months I have been stuck in a state of confusion, anger, frustration and most of all hurt because I just could not figure out what I had done wrong. Secretly I still loved him very much and had a glimmer of hope that we would one day reconcile, perhaps when I went back to South Africa. All of that was blown out the water when I discovered two weeks ago, on May 3rd, that he was now engaged and his fiance was pregnant.

I did not realise up until I was typing it that I learned of his infidelity on the anniversary of the day we first started going out. But then again why would it have clicked in my head? We never even celebrated that anniversary! We never went anywhere in public together, very few people even knew we were together. Quite naively I thought it was because we were preserving the sacredness of our relationship from the prying eyes of all our colleagues. Little did I know I was being taken on the worst joy ride of my life! For seventeen months all I really was to him was a dirty little secret. I was the other woman and I did not even know it.  I was the home wrecker that I had sworn to myself I would never be again. Yes, again.

In January 2007 I had met an older guy and to this day I cannot figure out what attracted me to him let alone made me risk everything for him. He is nothing like the two guys I’ve loved in life, he is short, chubby and way older while they are both tall and no more than two years older than I am. I cheated on my beloved with him and even though the affair itself was short-lived it had lasting consequences. It tore my relationship with my boyfriend apart when I confessed what I had done and my mother was less than impressed with me. I paid for what I had done, dearly and in ways I am not ready to write about. Seeing how much harm my cheating had caused, I vowed never to put another person through that again only to have it done to me. Not once but twice! When they say, “what goes around comes around, multiplied”…they are not kidding!

In “Unworthy Entanglements” I first acknowledged that I knew both relationships were bad for me. Later in “Three Versions of The Truth” I wrote about how I felt my second ex-boyfriend had been lying to me but I never thought it was to this extent. I never saw this coming, it’s as if he had lived another life altogether and I was completely oblivious of it. I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to piece together every sign that I missed, the breadcrumbs that he was leaving behind but none lead to me discovering that he proposed to someone else without my knowledge. 

 I could spend the rest of my days blaming myself for everything I should have seen but failed to see because that would be a rather futile exercise. I loved them both and that love was completely wasted on them. As much as I accepted the first as me paying for when I hurt him as well, the second betrayal makes no sense at all. I had never hurt him in any way for him to repay me with such malice and cruelty.

I am grateful though that I found out when I did because this knowledge extinguished whatever flame I had flickering in my heart. All ties are broken, I look ahead with no wish to ever look back. For months I have been upset and have been dissecting what we could have had, but now I am know we never would have had it anyway. My life with him may have ended but my life has certainly not ended.

Unworthy Entanglements


“I would do anything for you, I would go through all this pain, take a bullet straight to my brain. Yes I would die for you, but you won’t do the same!”  ~  Grenade by Bruno Mars

I fell in love with this song almost instantly. From the moment I heard the first verse I knew it was going to be one of my favourite songs. Quite like everything I have professed to love, in a matter of days I had worked myself up into a frenzy and my love had morphed into obsession. It became the subject of almost all my status updates on both Facebook and Blackberry messenger, it was playing on my mind all day everyday. I’ve come to realise that there’s a pattern in how I love…I’m an obsessive, compulsive lover!

Being single is, without any doubt, a sad and lonely time and it chips away at your self-esteem one piece at a time. As much as you know you have  friends and family that love you, you still feel like you’re undesirable and unloveable. This feeling is especially heightened when it seems like everywhere you go you’re bombarded  with couples including events and activities exclusively for them that are designed to specifically alienate you, the lone single person. It feels like a cruel, undue  reminder that you have scarcely had time to forget because the feeling of emptiness just never leaves you. Every time you are catching up with old friends and relatives you hear of all the people getting engaged, the upcoming weddings and the freshly announced pregnancies.  What deals the biggest blow however is undeniably the moment you find out your ex is now engaged!

No matter how much we protest and how many volunteer hours we spend to prove we are not, we ARE inherently selfish! I for one do not love my ex, do not want him back and I strongly believe I am better off without him but do I want him engaged? No! Especially not when I am single and I consider myself to be the more decent one of us both! What makes it so painful is you start thinking, “Well there must be something wrong with me if he spent six years with me and didn’t marry me and before I even have time to fetch my stuff from his place I hear he’s with someone else and less than two years later they’re engaged!” When the bitterness creeps in I just smile to myself and start singing, “I pity the fool who falls in love with you, oh shit she’s a gold digger, I just thought you should know…” and yes I go on to sing, “although there’s pain in my chest I still wish you the best” which I’d be lying if I said I meant it, I just sing it because I love the medley.

I have to wonder though, will I meet somebody or will I die of a broken heart, a non-scientifically proven yet still very real cause of death? Of late I have started thinking a very scary possibility; God will not bring me my life partner until I get over my addiction.

I am known as a person who loves others and showers those I love with immeasurable amounts of love. I used to think that this was a great quality to have but now I have come to realise it is also my Achilles heel. I have come to realise that the reason I love Grenade so much, is that it is about me. I have spent many, if not all, of my romantic entanglements catching grenades for people who would not do the same for me! As much as it is as a sad realisation, it is also a liberating one because it makes you realise that you deserve so much more than what you were getting and it’s ok to let go because you will not get anything worthwhile from that relationship anyway.

I might be wiser beyond my years in some areas of life, when it comes to relationships though, my growth is severely stunted. I do not think I will progress much until I learn to overcome all my weaknesses that feed into me being the way I am now. I always find it amazing how all my failures in life are always linked to me disobeying God. We all assign different names and different sources to that ever-present, still, small voice we converse with everyday. Pinocchio’s was Jiminy Cricket, who can forget the legendary, “And always let your conscience be your guide?” My small, still voice? Well that’s God of course. I am ashamed to say that He speaks and oftentimes I do not listen and I wonder why when I get hurt and have to crawl back to Him with shattered pieces of a violated heart.

I have had two serious relationships in the past eight years and in the interests of complete honesty, I was never meant to be in either one of them. I knew they were bad going in. I knew both guys were not ready to give me the relationship that I wanted and I still entered into relationships anyway. Not only that but I gave them both(not simultaneously of course), all that I had to offer and they became the very core of my life and that is my greatest sin.

First two commandments, notice how it’s two and not one and also how it is number one and two and not nine and ten, are about worshipping no one other than God. Exodus 20:4 commands us to “not make an idol of any kind…not bow down to them or worship them.” One of the dictionary meanings for the word “idol” is, “One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.”  Just like that, I have been repeatedly breaking two commandments in the way I conduct myself in romantic relationships.

I would be lying if I said I had stopped, though I do pray for the grace to stop. I do understand a bit more now that it is for my own protection that I remain single up until I can love someone in a constructive healthy way. It is time to accept God’s call to rehab and stay there till I am healed. Up until then I am ducking all grenades that I spot flying my way and I am certainly not about to go catching any for anyone who would not do the same.

Someday I will


The hardest part of any pain is actually being in the depth of it and not feeling like it will ever get better. I have spent over 30 hours of this weekend sleeping just so I don’t have to think of you. I don’t hate you, really I don’t…I’m just not as over you as I would like to be.

They say God never wastes a hurt, that all your pain is preparing you for your purpose in life. Someday, one day I will come to appreciate this but that day is just not today. Today I just want to cry when I think of you. Today I just want to know why you’ve left my world without so much as a goodbye. Today I would like to know why God thinks it’s fair for me to go through such heartbreak twice in two years. First the one I’d loved for six years walks out on our relationship because he was “tired and just doesn’t want to be in the relationship anymore.” Now you here you are, gone…without a trace.

Was I wrong to love you in the first place? Is this my punishment for turning a friendship into a romantic relationship? Somehow I feel that I was disobedient. Somehow I feel that God had not wanted me to be with you at that point in time. If this is the case then why then did it feel so right? Why then is every moment I’ve spent with you etched in my heart and painted vividly with yellows, oranges, pinks and some bright blues? Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a season and time for every matter under the sun.” Was it just never the time for us? Ironic though how you were the one that once quoted this scripture to me. Why did you not add, “oh honey, this scripture applies to us too.”

I have so many questions I want to ask you. Not least of all being, why did you turn what was a beautiful friendship into a relationship knowing that you would not take care of me like you did as my friend? Was it just greed on your part? Was it that you just couldn’t bear the thought of someone else loving me? You knew the kind of pain that I had recently gone through and you said it yourself that you had never wanted to hurt me. Why did you then?

I will not be melodramatic and say that  I will never love another the way I have loved you because that would probably be a lie. I will not tear a page from a story book and say I have never loved another as much as I love you because guess what? I have loved so many others and I continue to love others each and every day. I guess that’s the beauty of a human heart, even when it feels like it is so weary that it will just never function the same again, it just surprises you because it just keeps pumping blood and supplying life to your whole body and as much as you are an unwilling participant, you find yourself doing exactly what you swore you’d never do again….loving another.

While for me the other is by no means another man, I love so many things even as I profess deep heartache. I love my friends, I love my siblings, I love the God who created me. I love Him because like Psalm 139:16 says, ” Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book all my days were recorded, even those which were purposed before they had come into being.” How wonderful is that knowledge that even before I had left my mother’s womb, the Lord knew the kind of pain that I would be in on this very day…25 years 8 months after my birth. Should He have stopped it? The immature Christian in me, shouts YES before I can even finish typing the question. Let me be real for one moment, I got myself into this situation! I was the one seeking a relationship, I am hurting today because of the very choices I made.

I cannot go a single day thinking of you. As cruel as it may sound I wish I had never met you. Though yes that would deprive me of the life’s lesson’s I was supposed to have learnt through my encounter with you, still in my defiance I say, “I wish I had never met you!” Let’s reverse time to that fateful Saturday morning when I was sitting in a lecture and I turned around and there you were walking into the back of the room wearing your rugby jersey and blue jeans. Then we would have no need to erase all the encounters that followed, all of which I could recall on request. If there was any justice in this world, I would be able to erase the day you officially stepped into my life as my boyfriend. Blot it out of existence! I think that is the only way I could feel like my heart could resume its normal pace.

After all’s been said and done, I love you. I don’t understand why but I just do. I wish I could say I didn’t but then what would be the point in lying? Because of this overwhelming pain I feel I am incapable of reaching any point where I feel happy. I take my antidepressants like I’m supposed to and even that doesn’t help keep me out of this pit of despair that I am in. Sure I smile on que when I am around people. Yes I crack jokes. On a good day you might just find me actually putting in a good couple of hours of work. But does that change the fact that sometimes it hurts so bad I feel physical pain in my chest? Does it change the fact that every time my phone makes a sound I still wish it was you? No it doesn’t! As pathetic as it is…I love you and I won’t stop loving you today but someday I will!