My Bashed Up Heart

By Emma Pearson

October 26, 2020

26 September 2019

Megan Devine Writing Your Grief prompt asking us to consider the condition of our heart.

What is the condition of my heart?

My heart is a withered old thing. Deflated. Once strong and firm, now floppy, like a punctured balloon.

My heart is reminiscent of a partially deflated rugby ball or football, kicked about by carefree kids on a hot and dusty football pitch.

My heart feels bereft and forlorn. Daily it is assaulted by others’ lack of sensitivity. Today an energy worker told me how much he had learned from his inability to fully support Julia. He was working with other girls her age, some of which have gone to see him in light of Julia’s death. He said he will not make the same mistake again. As if my Julia was some casual experiment. I can’t even bear to write more about his words.

At times like that my heart lurches from my stomach where it wants to hide and disappear up to my throat where it wants to vomit up its entire existence.

My heart used to be strong, muscular, resilient, glistening with health. It liked a good workout. It liked being used. It liked feeling useful.

My heart was once vibrant red, and now is brilliantly red only where gashes insist on opening up – as they do any time I see a girl Julia’s age, any time I see a brand she liked, any time I hear Julia-type songs, any time I hear from one of her friends, or indeed one of my friends.

Now my heart is pale, dusty, mostly faded pinky grey. A few dark splodges of old dried blood from old wounds, from previous losses, remind me how much this heart has been through.

My heart is so very bashed up, withered, crumpled.

And yet I know too that my heart can renew. My resilience comes from my heart. Not just my gritted teeth.

Yes, my heart is fragile. And my heart is strong.

Yes, my heart is faded and withered. And my heart still it does its job.

My heart beats away in the background, never asking for too much attention. It carries on carrying on, not caring whether or not its presence is appreciated.

It keeps me alive. Whether I want it to or not.

And it practices loving. Daily. When I remember to ask it to. When I remember to stay open. When I remember to breathe.

It’s such a brave old heart. I am in awe of my heart. It’s been through such a lot. It’s going through such a lot. And will have to go through much more yet.

I love my heart. I am truly indebted. I owe my life to my heart.

But frankly, I just don’t know how it does it. Nor why.

About Emma Pearson

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