Where have I been? I’ve been heartbroken. It’s better and worse than it sounds, all at the same time. I can only explain it with a flashback to 8th grade summer camp. Kathryn and Meredith were both hell bent on climbing to the top of the cliffs just to jump. I followed suit because who wants to miss out on an experience like a free fall.
It’s the kind of fall you feel when you count to three. Don’t jump. Then count to three again. One, two, cling for dear life to your life jacket, try to remember how to hit the water like a toothpick, and jump.
It’s what happens from the first step off the cliff to the landing in the water that feels like an eternity. I remember jumping, holding my breath, and halfway through the 75 foot cliff jump I made, opening my eyes and wiggling my feet praying that I was there and quickly realizing I still had a ways to go.
Grown up breakups. Why doesn’t anyone tell you about them minus the cheesy Hollywood resolution where Hugh Jackman tells you that “Ray is not the last man you are every going to love”. That would seem to sum up what, looking back, feels like a mere second. It’s the time you are head over heels. Dreaming of you wedding and what your dress will look like and what face will he make when I’m walking down the aisle?! How can this thought jump so quickly to the thought that runs through your mind as you are lying in bed next to the man you see at the alter with thinking, what happened? What did I do? Where did it go? Why is there so much distance between us?
Love is an emotional cliff jump. What I have just mentioned is that point where you open your eyes hoping and praying you are about to hit the water, only to find that you still have half way to go.
Once the man you love tells you he doesn’t want to be with you for the rest of your life, you say okay. Right? Wrong. If you are really invested you want a second chance. You give both of you the benefit of the doubt. You think “I can’t be mad at him for being honest” and you shouldn’t. I was not mad. I was devastated. This is the point in the cliff jump where you have hit the water and you don’t even realize you have made it. Eventually you rise to the top of the water and someone yells “Breathe!” and you do.
Once you de-purple your face from holding your breath for-ev-er. You realize there is a “what’s next” in your future. What is next? How do you move past the life you built with someone that they didn’t actually want to be a part of? (if you hate people that end sentences in prepositions, I meant to say ‘want to be a part of stop-judging-my-grammar-in-a-crisis okay?)
But eventually you let out the air you have been holding in and gasp for something fresh. If you are lucky you are surrounded by great friends and family waiting to greet you with affirmation, prayer, better-luck-next-time, big hugs, and booze—nice booze. I happen to be so fortunate. While I lost a boyfriend, I have had nothing but an outpouring of love from the rest of my significant others. They are my Hugh Jackmans.
With all that has ensued in 2012 I can hardly justify a pity party. While I have them often, I can’t justify them. A broken heart hurts. I would rather break my leg. Snap that bitch in three places. There is no way it would be as painful. If I were hospitalized for a broken leg at least I would always have fresh flowers and the good drugs!
But I digress. This year has been one life event after another. I have watched my brother walk out of brain surgery with no sign of cancer, laid on a pull-out chair, not couch, with my sister-in-law telling her my brother is a fighter and even though they got the tumor they could not remove the bad jokes from his memory as they are hereditary, sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow to my grandmother in the hospital before she passed, hugged my parents as they juggled all the emotions expected in such trying times, chased my god daughter around a hospital waiting room because (in true Kempf fashion) she had three donuts in her mouth and she’s not even supposed to eat donuts, sat on the porch and talked about life with my cousins and how much we love each other, driven to Oklahoma while on the phone with my cousins writing my grandmother’s eulogy, asked my maternal grandmother, Grammer, for advice on grief with the fantastic response of “go to church, pray often and make the time to enjoy everyone and everything”. It has been nothing short of a crazy year.
So a broken heart seems like it would be, at best, an understudy to the victories and tragedies my family has endured. But the truth is I still get calls. About me. And what feels like a paper cut in the big picture of 2012 things to care about. What a fantastic reality check to find that no matter how big or small your problems, your family and friends will always care. They will always fight. They will always write. They will continue to call. They will still text. Just to tell me they still love me. Broken hearted, a little disheveled, a little bit fat, a little more sarcastic, a few new haircuts, a move and a long road ahead – Just as I am.
Turns out, life is exactly like the risks we take along the way. It’s shaky, uncomfortable, scary, lonely at times, and senseless in the moment. But eventually someone yells “BREATHE!!!” and all of the sudden you are back.