The other night, Ger and I were lounging around after watching a not-so-good movie. It ended with a predictable “boy and girl get back together and decide to get married” moment. We both thought it would have been much more interesting if the girl had walked away from the relationship, but that likely doesn’t make for a satisfying ending for viewers. Much better that hearts not be broken, and everything is tied up with a bow and a large engagement ring, right?
“We should make a covenant about our marriage,” Ger said, as the credits rolled in the background and we had turned to discussing the sub-par movie.
“We already did that,” I reminded him. smiling. “Also known as our wedding vows.”
“No, no,” he said, “I mean something more current.”
“Well, people do renew their vows,” I told him. “We could do something like that.” I have sometimes looked back on our wedding, so long ago, when we were so young, and wondered what it would be like to share that moment with the people that we love and care about now.
He shook his head. “Nothing in public.”
“It could be private,” I said. “Something just between us.”
He snuggled into my shoulder. “We need to make a covenant never to break each other’s hearts. I’ve never head my heart broken before.”
At those words, I stiffened. I could feel the tears arrive, intensely filling the rims of my eyes. Blinking would only cause them to spill over, but I couldn’t hold them back. I didn’t even try.
“I have had my heart broken,” I said quietly. “When our babies died.”
The tears gained strength. I gave low, shuddering sobs. I held my hand on my chest, because what I relived in that moment was the pain I felt when my heart did break. It isn’t just a metaphor. A broken heart manifests a physical response that I didn’t know was possible until it happened.
Ger held my shoulders. The pressure, the weight, helped to calm me but it took a few minutes. I had reached a state of uncontrollable crying that has not happened for awhile. I was remembering those first few days at home, after delivering both Nelle and Iris. Those days of the most potent pain and grief, wondering how I would ever be whole again.
“It’s never the same,” I managed to say, in between gulps for air. “Never. You can try to put a broken heart back together, but it is never, EVER the same. It can’t be.”