Hollie Grimaldi Flores: How do you mend a broken heart?
Tomorrow is my birthday. I begin my trip around the last year of a decade that went by far too quickly. Put the brakes on already! It has been quite some time since I had the feeling that days were long and time was moving slowly. I began celebrating this decade with a great group of friends on a cruise out of Florida that took us to Mexico and back. It was great fun. It seems impossible to believe it was a full nine years ago! I just don’t feel that old!.
Of course, the signs of aging are ever present. The daily revelation of new aches and pains have been mentioned here many times. The change in my physical self, the longer than I care to confess recovery time after playing a bit too hard, the pigment of my natural hair color, the lines on my face – all of the indicators of a long life are quite evident. But it is not how I feel!
Decades ago, I asked my first (now deceased) mother-in-law if she could see how old she looked when she looked in the mirror. (That reads a lot worse than it was delivered.) At the time, she was probably about the age I am now. She was having some health issues and we were talking about getting older. “When you look in the mirror, do you see yourself older?” I asked. She said she did, indeed. But then she said something that has always stuck with me. “It just doesn’t match how I feel inside.” She went on to talk about the reality that while our bodies often fail us, our spirit and sense of self remain pretty consistent. Of course life lessons are hopefully learned and some behaviors change, but who we are on the inside is not represented by our outward self.
I didn’t completely understand what she was saying then, but oh how I understand it now! Most definitely, somewhere inside, (to poach a line from an Eagles tune), I am “still the same old girl I used to be.” I surprise myself when I make what I call “mature” decisions. I will admit to slowing down, but I am also not that old!
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I feel bad for every old person I have ever dismissed simply because they were old. So what if we can’t remember the name of that guy from that movie we saw in that thing the other day! So what if we walk into a room and have to go back to where we started to remember why we were going there. I can already see my kids mocking me a bit. What I can’t see is the road at night! My body defies me. My spirit remains.
That is not to say that getting older does not have a positive side. I am happy to have used these decades on the planet to learn from past mistakes and to live on the other side of lessons learned. It has not been an easy journey, but the path seems to be a bit less rocky and maybe a little bit more flat. I am glad for that.
As a Valentine’s baby, I have grown up with a penchant for all things heart. I am a hopeless romantic. I love to see people coupled. I am thrilled to be in a loving relationship. It is my nature to try to find someone for everyone I know who is looking for love. But love is not easy.
More accurately, relationships aren’t easy. And possibly because it is almost Valentine’s Day, that fact is glaring for those who are in a difficult one or going through a rough patch or who simply have not found a partner. Just this week I had conversations with two of my adult children who both happen to be suffering from broken hearts. They are both in their late 20s. I don’t miss that part of the journey. But I am glad to have had the experience, if only to be an example to them that it is survivable, and love will likely come to them again.
Life does go on, and chances are they will meet someone more suited for them before too long. It’s easy to say now but the memory of that deep, agonizing pain is very real.
Does anyone get through this thing called life without having their heart broken at least one time? If not by romantic love, certainly from the loss of a loved one. My first broken heart came from the loss of a beloved pet. My last broken heart is likely still up ahead of me.
For all of my years I do not have a cure for that. I can’t imagine life without love. The risk is worth taking, but when it goes awry or ends, there is no quick fix. I have not quite figured out how to mend a broken heart. The younger version of me would pack my bags and begin again. This older version of me is learning to sit with it and be glad for the time I have had with those I have loved and those I love still.
Hopefully we will enjoy many, many more trips around the sun.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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