Pieces of My Heart
By Zoe Rockes
Years ago, I fell head over heels for an extraordinary human. On the outside she was confident and kind, but underneath she was struggling. She shared her broken pieces with me, and I, in turn, learned to share my own. She made me feel invincible and not so alone in the world.
The timing was all wrong though. As quickly as she came into my life, she was gone, leaving me drowning in hurt and confusion. I felt as though my soul had been shattered into pieces. How do you recover when you don’t even feel like you know who you are anymore?
One of the things that gave me comfort during the early days of heartbreak was collecting hearts. Every time I saw a heart shaped object that was purple, her favorite color, I found myself collecting it and tucking it away. I gathered a couple dozen over the early months of grief. They made me feel like I was keeping little pieces of her love with me. Over time I began to find new ones more slowly, but I always knew that my stash was close when I needed them to hold onto.
It took a long time to start to rebuild my belief in who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. I felt so lost. At some point though, I realized that my collection of hearts was a crutch, and it was time for me to start putting some of that love that I was into the world. I was holding it too tightly to myself. I decided to start letting go of my hearts.
I started slowly, with a goal of one a week. The first week, I left one on a play structure where we’d watch our kids play. The next week, I left one along the route that we’d sometimes take when we'd go on walks. It felt good to think that some stranger would find that little piece of love, that maybe it would make them smile. I picked up speed. One under a beautiful tree at a school. One in the McDonald’s parking lot that I stopped in to write her one of the hardest messages of my life. One by the postal drop box that I found myself crying in my car next to in the early days of grief. One got chucked out the window of my car in a spot where I had once screamed in frustration while speeding down a hill. One at the school that we thought we’d watch our kids grow up in together. One in a field where we once laid in the grass and stared at the sky. Most were left in places with purple tulips, her favorite flower.
Eventually, my collection dwindled down to the two that I felt were most special. I will always have a piece of my heart missing where she once lived. It’s true of all heartbreaks. So, it makes sense to me to hold onto a couple of hearts. But giving so many of those hearts away left me feeling a little less broken. I made a decision to no longer let the hole that she left behind keep me from giving love. I can’t live afraid of the next heartbreak. There will always pieces of my heart that are missing. But there are so many more pieces of my heart left to give.