How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?
I remember Grade Eight and having to go to Guidance Class. Our teacher/instructor tried very hard to reach us. He tried very hard to express that we should understand the concept of what satisfaction was, and what life could be. He tried to tell us to embrace happiness when it came because it is a gift and a blessing not to be overlooked and taken for granted. He was faced by our jaded group; our group of hormone-infested tweens; tweens who were practicing our best scowls, while slouching in our chairs, looking through our Farrah Fawcett/Peter Frampton hair. We already knew it all.
He would try and reach us by asking through questions as a forum. He would ask 'what is satisfaction?'. And he would receive the giddy response in return. He would roll his eyes and try to bring us out of our infinite knowledge by suggesting that satsifaction could be attained by reaching the bathroom when you really needed to go. He suggested that satisfaction could come in the form of a really great candy bar if you were really hungry or a great cold glass of water on a very hot day. He tried to suggest that satisfaction could be found in a sunrise after a very rough storm. Or in a good belly laugh after a really good cry. He tried to stress that satisfaction could be attained with small things as well as the big things in life. And if we embraced certain sensations, certain moments they could encapsolate a wonderful moment or at least a better time when things were rough. A moment of satisfaction or happiness should never be overlooked.
He continued on with our class, once a week, trying to guide us along the slippery road into teendom. He tried to help us pick our schools of choice and tried to help us realize that we could all reach our true potential. 'We could be anything. Just think of the possibilities. The world was our oyster.' He would exclaim with an earnest zealousness as we filled out our forms with hopes of admission to a high school of our choice.
But it was not all rose coloured glasses when he dealt us with. He told us to look around the classroom, as a great deal of us, may not make it to our 40th birthday. He told us by the age of twenty-five at least one of us would be dead. And this was greeted by the obligatory 'As if' And 'Pahshaw" that often comes with youth. The doubt of us, not living forever, was not part of our venacular. He was written off with any crediblity after such a remark.
Ingrid and I sat beside each other in all of this. We were never really the vocal girls. If fact we were quiet and I suppose square. We never drank, we didn't smoke, we didn't 'put out'. We sang in the choir, we played musical instruments, we read. We got by and even though we were not the loud girls somehow we were popular. I suppose it was something in the way we wore our lumberjackets and sassoon jeans. Maybe the way Ingrid's braces reflected in the summer sun, or my perms were a thing of beauty to behold. We were never without. We had each other and the attentions of others.
We went through the years together. Heck, we knew each other since we were four years of age. We had countless sleepovers. We were welcomed and lived in each other's homes often preferring the other person's life. We had gone through all our classes together. We knew how each other's thoughts and had a great love of sarcasm and our past was safely embedded in the countless letters that Ingrid had kept safely stored in bankerboxes underneath her bed through out the years. Her parents lived the straight and narrow always safe, with the ever calm presence of Ingrid's father playing the piano. There was a calm pressence there.
My House by contrast was a bit unruly, with boarders and shift work. There were four kids and there were always playdates which filled th house with a certain rauccousness. My father was a cop and the possibility of his demise was always on the surface of our family's day to day life as it could be a part of his job. Life at my house could be a bit unsettling. But full of loud fun.
The reality of the unexpected did strike us after the guidance speeches as Ingrid's father died in a plane crash the following summer. We went through a pretty hard time. As her father died just after dropping her family off at their family cottage and was just returning across the lake to pick up their luggage. A heart attack on the way to pick up the luggage. A heart attack which saw him crash into the lake 25 miles from shore.
We were given our first lesson of mortality happening at a pretty young age. Her father was a young 48 year old man. A man who would always be remembered for playing the piano and engaging us in witty, intellectual, conversation. He would be remembered for building his airplane in the backyard, his love of the English language and the University in which he taught it in, and most importantly he would be remembered for his infinite love of his family. It was so hard not to have him in our lives. The sanctity of reliability was shaken from our very core.
A young broken heart. And as the years have gone on I have attended a great deal of funerals for my friends from my school. I have lost two to suicide. An old boyfriend of mine took his life. I have lost three friends to car accidents. And the irony resonates to my heart whenever I attend a funeral, that maybe our bitter, guidance teacher did have something in his lessons.
He never did teach how to find the words of comfort for the widows, the husbands or the mothers of the children left behind. He never taught how to comfort the broken hearted.
I have had a great deal of things that I have 'satisfaction' with. I have known a great deal of happiness. I have never had a problem with seizing the day, and enjoying my 'moments' of satisfaction for indeed sometimes they do sustain you and carry you through the roughest of times.
But I have known much sadness. I have lost too, too many friends, to cancer and other tragic maladies. I have lost them before the age of forty and a great deal of me is bitter about it. I am so sad that I can not call my lost friends and talk with them. I am sad that I will not have the chance to have a glass of wine and watch our children play and grow up together. I am so sad that my friends' children will not truly have a memory of their departed mothers and fathers, or as me as their auntie. I am so sad some moments were taken for granted.
And today, Ingrid unexpectantly came to my door.
Ingrid rang my doorbell.
And I answered the door. I looked at her in surprise.
And she cried. And I hugged her on my doorstep with the cold chilling wind on her back and in my chest she wept and I was waiting for her to get her breath, waiting to hear what was so terribly wrong in her world.
She said as she sobbed...
'Ohhhhhh Pendullum. I am so very scared. I am so very, very, scared. I have cancer. I have cancer, Pendullum. I need you.'
And dear reader....
I am so very scared.
I am so very, very, sad to what road lies ahead.
And I do not know how to mend this broken heart.
No one gave me that important life's lesson...