Keep Your Heart Open by Louise Malbon-Reddix

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On 8-8-08 I married the love of my life. I lost him tragically and so unexpectedly on 12-07-09. Some people say there is a limit to grieving. To them I say, “You have never lost a piece of your heart.” Surely some losses are easier than others to go through. But, when you lose that special someone, you will be spending some considerable time mourning and grieving. Even when you think you are finished, you aren’t. There will always be that street called familiar. Perhaps you’ll hear a favorite song, or notice something very special that was once your loved one’s, that will start the grief again.

And if you are one whose loss is fresh; as in it happened yesterday or a few weeks ago, or just over there in the distant past; I want you to know that here is one who truly understands.

Turning back to a page of my own story, not sure of the exact page, but somewhere way back now, about 5 years ago when the loss of my own beloved was so, so, so fresh, I found sleep to be elusive. Grief tormented me.

Oh to have a word or a way to come to terms with this pain. My heart and mind could not find lovely words to use to explain how to cope. A friend of mine did find those words. They are “keeping my heart open”. In retrospect, flipping back through these pages, that is what you are doing as you travel through this tumultuous time in your life.

You see, I had never been in this place of deep loss before. Never (even though I have had other losses in my life) had I been in such stark, raving grief. Not knowing what to do or what to say. Exhausted. Trying to come to terms. Scared and in pain. Still in love, but so terribly alone. Yes, still in love! Night after night, and day after day, because at some point I didn’t know if it was night or day. Still holding on to the essence of that pure and perfect person who had entered my life and now left me so suddenly and without warning—with no chance to prepare and no chance to say goodbye. My life and times of being unconditionally loved and desired now gone, just like that.

I could tell more, but I will stop except to say, “Yes, I still love him, still live with the soul of that love.”

Is this perchance your story? I call this whirlwind of emotion a dance with the Divine. Only at times, I feel like God is playing my 33 1/3 album at the speed of a 45 single, and I’m still trying to do the two-step. And I don’t feel like bopping and all of that snapping of my fingers and doing the jitterbug. I go on because grief has a way of making us feel that we must, that we have no choice.

Looking back, I know that agony was a time of learning how to “keep my heart open.”

At the time, crying, and more crying, was all I could do.

This is what I know now: tears are the only way our soul can speak when it is so profoundly and deeply hurt. Tears are the only language the mourning soul has. Let them flow. It is okay! Let your soul say all it wants. We dared to love, and love is huge. It has many expressions, times, and ways. So wonderful! When we feel its loss, our grieving reveals wounds that never show up on the body. But they are there, deep and more hurtful than anything that bleeds!

So, my grieving Sister or Brother, no more words for now. Please know that yours is a dance with the Divine. Just like with any other long, emotional dance, there are going to be some physiologic things that will happen; they are the adaptive responses of our bodies. Not being able to sleep is one. Headaches, fast heartbeats, and sweats are a few of the others.

Both your soul and your body are learning how to deal with grief and loss. Things like sleep and rest and good food can help the body.

But what of your your soul? It still has some pages to write. Let it! Even while life somehow is still going on around you, it will write on. God made us that way. The sun still will come up and day will come. The sun will go down and night will come. But during this time of pain and sorrow, the soul doesn’t understand all that. It just knows what it knows, and you will have no choice but to let your grieving soul take the time it needs.

During these five years, I have learned there are some things that will come. Grief is like a river, it flows until at some point you can come to a place where you can allow yourself to catch up with the speed of life. Now I know why God has put banks on the sides of rivers. As with any river, grief may overflow its banks at times. Don’t worry. Allow yourself the time you need to learn again how to “Keep Your Heart Open.” Know that it is still a dance, and you will learn the steps to this dance, too. Like the river, flow along and “Keep Your Heart Open.”

I hope these words give you some relief, for a moment or two, or maybe more. Day by day, you too will learn just how to “Keep Your Heart Open!”

Louise Malbon-Reddix is the Author of Stand In Your Anointment-This Too Shall Pass. It was written with the hope of coming along side of others to help and guide safely as they navigate through a time of unimaginable pain, grief and misery.

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16 thoughts on “Keep Your Heart Open by Louise Malbon-Reddix

  1. Kenneth Weene

    The loss of a loved one is one of life’s greatest stressors. Such a loss is often the impetus that moves good fiction along. It can also be the subject of lovely poetry. Still, it is a stressor and a source of pain. It is important to remember that in the real world of life the healing process takes place and that it helps us to grow.

    Reply
  2. Kathie

    My heart is open and still dancing. It is exactly 3 months today and as I read your blog yes tears are streaming down my face. I know everyone grieves differently and the length of time depends on the person. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to over come. But I know I will at some point. Maybe I just do not want to believe it to be true …..I am trying …..it is just so hard.
    I love you my dear friend Louise.
    God bless you
    Much love and respect ,
    Kathie

    Reply
    1. Louise Malbon-Reddix

      Kathie, you are doing wonderfully, even if it doesn’t feel so! It is hard and it is work too! There is no right or wrong way. Praying for you and with you!!! In the beginning I had to write things down, so I could keep up with things. That helped some. Had to set some boundaries. If I didn’t feel I could handle this or that, I didn’t. Watch your health. Surround yourself with praetty things. Christmas was the first Holiday I had to go through along. I love looking at Christmas decorations, so at night I would do that. Go by the houses withthe biggest light decorations and bask in them, and their beauty, things ike that. Try not to pile too much on your chest all at once. Take it one day at a time.

      Louise

      Louise

      Reply
  3. Kathleen Ball

    what a beautiful piece! I never thought about keeping my heart open, it hurt too much to grieve and I wanted to close my heart. Keeping it open might be hard but doable. Thank you – you’ve given me a lot to think about

    Reply
    1. Louise Malbon-Reddix

      Kathleen, I so understand. The grief process has 5 steps. And we go through them all, denial through acceptance. And that is where similarity ends. We all go throgh in our own way. Happy it helped you. Louise

      Reply
  4. James Secor

    I name 3. When my mother died, I got unimaginably ill with diarrhea til there was nothing and spiking temps for weeks; a hospital stay. I missed exams (and classes, of course). Though I had a love-hate relationship with my mother due to her and my manic depression, we were spiritually/emotionally joined at the hip. The second was the death of a relationship. Gross, heartless traitorousness that turned my world and beliefs upside down. My grieving/crying? Severe depression that, though drugs were brought into play, lasted for years–perhaps 10. I cried, too, in my writing: nothing at all edifying about her. But we, too, were spiritually/emotionally joined at the hip: when I wrecked on campus and suffered a horrible concussion, she knew of it at work. . .35 miles away. The only phone number I could remember was her work number; when she was called, she was already on the way. Keeping my heart open? Frightening to think that she might knock on my door, for I think I crumble. I met her 4th husband (he does not know I know: the connection is still there) and found that 26 yrs after divorce she is still telling the same horrid stories. The third was recently. I found, in 2013, my distanced son died in 2012. My family did not tell me. His mother had died in 2008. My family did not tell me. They knew how to get hold of me. I was listed in the notices as a next of kin. She had taken him from me and I never saw him again; I followed him as best I could online. I wrote, too. Keeping my heart open, as you say, must be why I was able to write a viciously ironic story about his birth and the family. The irony is not hers or his, it is the doctor’s: he thought his religious viewpoint trumped the legality of the medical chart. He wreaked havoc. I have shared this story with only one person. I discovered grandchildren and one of my son’s wives and have a long letter written; but cognitive dissonance keeps me from sending it. . .so far. My siblings? I have no family. This was the last in a long line of abuse: they did not tell me when my father died, either, not that I would have mourned, until NSA required them to get hold of all of his children. I am first born. For 20-30 yrs I kept an open heart; that door has been slammed shut and it cannot be opened. If you want the story, Louise, I’ll send it to you. Your post put a glass to my past mourning.

    Reply
    1. Louise Malbon-Reddix

      James, wow, I feel your pain! It seems that you can see that there is another soul like you who has been through some stuff too! All of us are going through!!! A raised glass to you!!!

      Louise

      Reply
  5. Cynthia B Ainsworthe

    The loss of a loved one is a painful experience. My heart goes out to you, Louise, as I’ve been down that path more times than I care to remember. Memories churn up those wounds and they run bloody and raw at times. Thank you for your sharing this sorrowful experience. Sharing with others has a healing force.

    Reply
    1. Louise Malbon-Reddix

      Cynthia,

      Yes it does have some sorrow for sure, and I have learned a lot. Hoping to help others to go through in their healing too!

      Louise

      Reply
  6. Delinda

    Thanks for expressing the journey of grief so well. Even surrounded by loved ones, grieving is a journey we take alone in our hearts.

    Reply
  7. John B. Rosenman

    Louise, I’m sorry for the grief and pain you’ve gone through, which has apparently been experienced by many of us, including me. Many years after my parents’ and sister’s deaths, I am re-experiencing them and rehashing old issues. Thank you for your wise counsel. A dance with the divine . . . I never heard it expressed that way. They say that “Time heals all wounds.” I only wish it were true. God bless you for finding beauty or at least meaning in tragic loss.

    Reply
    1. Louise Malbon-Reddix

      Dearest John Rosenman, That grief process has many steps to it – shock and denial all the way through to acceptance. All not in order and then maybe so. But as long as we are living and have clear minds and emotions and smells and memories and familiar streets and all of that, memories will and do come back to us in a flood. Tears that hit your eyes so hard that they sting, and some that just roll down your cheek. Then you can get those belly laughs as you remember this or that and sometimes, just a warm hearted smile.

      We are human and alive too! Take it one day at a time and remember not to pile to much on your chest at once. Besides, they have removed all of the phone booths and there is nowhere to change!!!

      Reply
  8. Micki Peluso

    Dearest Louise,

    I’ve traveled your journey to the other side of grief and know your pain. “My heart was open,”–I know because it bled and still does after so many years. It was my mouth that would not open, could not speak, until I took a pen and wrote . . . and wrote, and the grief remained but in a form that I could bear. Many say it’s been too long, to put it away. Why would I do that? I was led to write a book which is my treasure for when as years pass I forget the things she said or did, all I have to do is open my book and she is there, alive again and filling ‘my open heart’ once more.
    Thank you for this,

    Micki

    Reply
    1. Louise Malbon-Reddix

      Micki,

      Reading your words, it sounds like you have reached the step of acceptance in the grief process. Even knowing that there is a “process” , this is what I know is true. We love in so many ways, and through all of our senses. At any given moment a fragrance of some sort, a familiar street, a song, an item, a feeling or a memory can start the whole thing all over again. I am grateful for your heart, that even though it has been through so much, you still take out the time to not only tell your story, but reach out and touch another.

      God Bless You, and that great big old heart of yours!!!
      Louise

      Reply

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