There’s a heartbroken human in our home at the moment. So my heart hurts a little as well. I see the pain in the posture. Feel the sadness behind the gentle grin. When there is weeping I think of Glenn Close in The Big Chill. Naked and weeping on the floor in the shower. I remember when I too wept in the shower. Because we are all at some point in our life heartbroken humans.
And because I’m the mother of this human I want to help. The medical me thinks I need to get those oxytocin levels up. Because that’s the hormone that makes loving easy. Creates connection. Did you know that humans need at least eight hugs a day. That’s a lot of holding on. Hugging releases oxytocin. So I’m determined to hug this human. A lot. I don’t say that of course. Just hug.
When Mr G comes home from his work he wants to practise a sitting massage for the massage course he is doing. I think good. No even better. Great. Get a chair. Get going. All that touching. That will get the feeling good chemicals being made as well.
This damn flu won’t go away is the complaint that is made. Because the hurt heart made the body sick. Aching and lethargic with an annoying chesty cough. Medical me wants to say it’s because when you are stressed out your body releases too much cortisol which depresses your immune system and the vagus nerve which runs to just about every bit of you gets all inflamed and yucky. But I don’t. I just say. It’ll be OK.
Chill out a bit. Turn down the digital noise. Take a long I’m having a think-in-here soaky bath. Maybe sit outside in the sun-shiney goodness. Do daydreaming. Near a tree. Oh and breathe slowly. Look up into the sky. Deeply. Count clouds. It feels nice. It helps healing.Truth is I really want to go on about sleep hygiene and unprocessed food and green tea and deep self-care. Routines and rituals. But it’s not the right time. Not when the dear hurt human is most likely preoccupied with how to get though this present moment. Aching and longing for what was there but isn’t anymore. Most likely thinking this stuff just sucks. So much. Which it does. Totally.
So I restrain myself. Instead I make eggs and smash them. For good measure I add some japanese mushrooms and green bits and spices. Because all these are said to be making materials for the feel good hormones. And anti-inflammatory. No not the smashing bit. (Though there’s some association with increased house prices which would be sweet).
I offer the egg concoction with a hug on the side. Start on a super green smoothie with added probiotic and make a note to self to leave some dark organic chilli chocolate lying about. Like near the PlayStation control thingo.
The days pass by. It’s easy to feel like not much is happening. The hurt human eats the smashed things. Devours dark green smoothies. I’m thinking about hacking into happiness. About endorphins and GABA and Dopamine and Serotonin. And of course Oxytocin. I’m plotting to make a perfectly balanced happiness soup. Or maybe that super salad.
That’s when I remember a you-tube video I once watched about a Japanese master who repaired broken pots with a golden seam. Wabi Sabi. The art of making something beautiful because of the damaged bit. The imperfection becomes the sweet-spot. I try to find it but I can’t. Instead I read about Wabi Sabi obsessively while the hurt human is in some sort of mortal combat on the PlayStation. Hopefully there’s endorphins squirting madly into those synapses.
In between this and that there is some poetry. Of the simple things. We talk a bit. About the thing that hurt. I notice he is a bit worn by it all. So am I to be honest. Still we touch the tender spots. Calmly and gently. It’s all quite earthy and unfussy and a bit salty with tears. I hold my heart and he holds his. I’m hopeful there might be a golden mend line being laid in.
At some point things change. It all becomes a bit lighter. The human hugs me. Says that he will be OK. Even though he is still so utterly sad. On the inside. Says he misses the simple things most. Has realised that the ordinary moments matters. More than he knew. And family. And that he loves me. Even though I do go on a bit. About happiness soup and green stuff. But all that hugging was in fact really nice.
Says that he is actually OK with himself. Imperfections which we sort of acknowledge and all. Which he feels good about. On the inside. That he did his best at this love thing. It just didn’t work out this time. That he has become a better man. Which he is. Definitely.
Then he goes out. It’s to hang out with his friends. Back into life. To the loving and losing. And hopefully some laughter. Maybe dancing. Which is of course what is needed. His own tribe.
Later I sit on the bed in the room where the human who just transformed to a man was once a child. On the shelf is a favourite book. The Velveteen Rabbit. I take it down. Turn the pages fondly. Nostalgic for those moments when we snuggled in for night-time reading sessions. Oh gosh. What preciousness it all was. The pages are now a bit tattered. Torn and marked from all those years. And chubby child hands.
You may know the story. It’s of a ‘splendid, fat and bunchy’ stuffed rabbit with ‘real thread whiskers’ who wants to become real. In the nursery he asks the wise old Skin horse ‘What is real’. The skin horse who is always truthful answers ‘You become. It takes a long time’. ‘Does it hurt’. ‘Sometimes’. Yes sometimes it really hurts a lot.
And the end. Well the fairy makes the rabbit real. After he weeps an actual tear when he is discarded by the child who has loved and played with him. Because it is time. To grow up. To be with the other bunnies doing bunny business out in the garden.
In that moment with the dusk falling all around on the outside and sitting on that bed I suddenly understand something. That ‘it’ had been happening to me. All along. All this time. The becoming real thing. That the story was not really for the child. It was for the woman who is the mother who is made real though loving the child. And all that that came to entail. And that it does indeed take a very, very long time.
‘Real isn’t how you are made. It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a very long, long time, not just to play with but really loves you, then you become real.’
It is indeed all a Wabi Sabi sort of thing.