“Love is really the only thing we can possess, keep with us, and take with us." —Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Have you ever had a relationship that broke your heart, like all the pieces of Humpty Dumpty when he fell off the wall? Maybe a parent rejected, abused, or abandoned you. Maybe a best friend or lover walked away. Maybe you walked away. Regardless of who or why or how, a broken heart remained. The shattering, the ensuing depth of pain can be utterly intense and feel irreparable.

For most of us, this happened to us more than once and some are more significant heartbreaks than others. In one of my most significant, there was something I could not reconcile. It brought up a truth I deeply believed, “love doesn’t end.” My mind could not figure it out, though. Because, it had ended! The relationship was over. Love ended!

If love doesn’t end, where does it go when the relationship ends? It took sleepless nights, therapy, lots of walks in nature, and an arduous process to come to the “aha moment” finally given to me.

My heart received this metaphor about “containers.” The relationship was a container of my love. I poured love into that container, and what that person did with my love was up to them. I still had the love they put into my container! The love that I had given and received was my love, and likewise was theirs. Although the person didn’t want to be the container of my love, it didn’t change love! My container grew from the love I had both given and received in that relationship. The love I had in me never ended, just the relationship had.

As I had been healing through the grief of this devastating heartbreak, and as the metaphor unfolded, I began to see that my love was already going into other containers. Self love was first and foremost. I had to give from an overflowing container, not from a depleted one. As healing continued, there were other containers I poured love into: work as a grief facilitator/developer, creation of nature cards from things that had “spoken” to my heart, writing, and more.

The most beautiful part was realizing that not only had the love not ended, but in fact, it had multiplied! The form of the container changed, but the love was nowhere near the end.

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.