Blessed by a Broken Heart

Maybe you know this. Maybe you don’t. Because maybe you feel the same or maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s obvious. Maybe it isn’t.

There’s nothing I’ve found so far that hasn’t been touched by the loss of Isaac. 


No part of me. 

So everything I do 

or say 

or think 

or am 

is in proximity to this truth. My brain doesn’t work as it once did. My thoughts are never not including the loss of him. This is sad, but it is also true. There are other things, there are beautiful things in my life, but there is always this. 

Maybe someday, but if that is something I’m supposed to know or rely upon or learn, no one has said so. Everything about who I am has been changed by grief, despair, loss and quite frankly, missing my very favorite human being. I haven’t found one thing that has gone unscathed.

Sometimes I find that being ‘in the world’ is incredibly difficult and I retreat into my head. Sometimes, I miss even those closest to me because there seems to be a thin veil between us that is hard to look through, hard to look at, and hard to see. It is its own ache; I know they miss “me” and I miss the ease of being with “them”.  

At the same time, “they” are why I’m doing as good as I can be. They have loved, nurtured & supported me despite their own broken hearts. They have given me space and not asked for much in return, except that I take care of myself and ask for help if I need it.

Because of them, I was able to know right away and ever since that no matter how much this hurts, I am not alone. And I can tell you that this is everything. Absolutely everything. So, it is not only loss and pain that has altered me; this incredible love has changed me, also. 

So if you ever think for a moment that you don’t know how to sit with someone’s pain and that it would be better or wiser or easier to just stay away when you know someone is in deep pain, please reconsider. Please lend your small voice to the chorus. Please don’t abandon someone you called a friend because you don’t know what to say. Just say that you don’t know what to say, while holding their hand in silence, in person. That is enough. None of us know what to do. But your absence will be noticed. Despite the agony of loss and despite the blessings of incomparable love, I have noticed those who chose to stay away. I have compassion for them, but the anchor between us, that fastened us together, has dissolved into a memory of who I was before, and who I am now, and who has stood with me.

If you are generally a person or a family who identifies with connection and values community and you are everywhere but beside someone you love when they are in pain, who are you really?  I’m not here to shame anyone, and believe me when I tell you this is as much a question of my own self reflection as it is a question for you to ask your own heart.

This has shown me all the places where 

“Actions Speak Louder Than Words”

My parents perennial mantra when I was growing up. They were so so so so right. 

I can say with certainty that losing Isaac and having people surround me has helped me step into the momentum of showing up for life and others in reciprocity. That wasn’t always the truth. I was a chronic last minute rescheduler, personally and professionally. I was also capable of turning away from awkward situations because I didn’t know what to do or say. I think that started out from depression and anxiety, but grew to be a habit. I carried shame for it but I could also usually lick those wounds and carry on. But I disappointed many many people in my lifetime. And I’m not saying that I don’t anymore– but I am saying that now I feel compelled to show up as much as I can, and push myself if I’m not feeling up for it, and it gets easier with repetition, and it helps form new habits based on action.

Because death IS a call to action. I wish I hadn’t learned it, this way. But I take great comfort and deep gratitude in knowing that we are, each and every one of us, redeemable. We can change. We can be for others what they need even when we ourselves are in pain. 

This is one of the many blessings of a broken heart. 

  Thank you to my friends family and community for being such amazing role models to me as I have learned from you how to be in the world, how to show up for life, and how to begin to embody the serenity prayer; 

“God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change; 

The courage to change the things I can; 

and wisdom to know the difference”

Published by: christinaryanstoltz

I write to touch the supple center of unguarded ache~ To release myself from the pressure of not knowing how to move forward from the unfathomable loss of my beloved son, my beautiful boy Isaac, to suicide, of not knowing how to release my grip on of the past, both the worshipping of it as well as the beating myself up for it, and letting go of the need to know what I could’ve done or what on earth I will do now. I write to heal.


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