The Paper Heart

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not “get over” the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor should you want to. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, psychiatrist, pioneer in near-death studies and author of  On Death and Dying

I interviewed a 33-year-old woman today about her mother loss experience. She was 12 when her mother died. Articulate and introspective, the young woman was wise beyond her years. When I asked her about advice for other motherless daughters, she told me this story.

“When I was in second grade, my teacher used the illustration of a torn, red, paper heart to show us what it is like when we mistreat others. She then taped the heart back together and showed us how, even though the heart is whole again, the tear does not completely disappear. I think recovery from losing a mother at a young age is similar. You heal from your broken heart, but you are never quite the same, a part of the brokenness and sadness remains always.”

Affirmation: I can heal.

Coaching questions: How have you patched up your broken heart? How are you different because of your loss?

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