Snapshots of Heartbreak

Oct 26 2021

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: From the final photoshoot / photo by Joe Rosser

Yesterday, I marked the 12 week anniversary of my partner walking out of our story, with a solo walk through wind, rain and sun at Weston-super-Mare beach. I listened to Tom Waits whilst gazing out on the mud flats and thought about all that I've lost and how far I've come.

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: "Danger Sinking Mud"

The sign says "Danger sinking mud." I did sink for a while, but thanks to incredible friends, lots of time in nature, hours of yogic sobbing, days of meditative weeping, near continuous tear-stained journaling, impulsive bizarre creative rituals and many irreverent podcasts, I'm doing OK.

Here follows a series of poetry and image snapshots capturing fragments of the early stages of my heartbreak experience. I'm not there now, but I wanted to share these moments, to reach out from my heart to yours.

Trigger warning: I mention my miscarriages in the final poem.

The Final Photoshoot

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Joe Rosser

We wolf down our dinner,
Hurtle down potholed lanes,
Race across railway tracks,
Tiptoe down private roads,
and climb over rickety fences,
To get to the beach before dark.

He sets up the camera,
As I scramble into my frock.
Rolling out my standard shapes,
Against the apocalyptic backdrop
Of Port Talbot steal works (his choice),
Suddenly, it hits me like a tidal wave;
This is it!
This is our final photoshoot.

I'm dancing with the dying light.

Yogic Sobbing

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Internet scavenged - artist Giselle Dekel

When crying in Child's Pose,
A small lake gathers
On the yoga mat.

When blubbering in Downward-Dog,
Tears flow upwards,
Through the eyebrows, to the forehead.

When sobbing in Savasana,
Hot tears trickle
Into the ears.

Shopping For One

Standing in the neon lit vegetable aisle
Holding a half portion of cucumber
Wondering if it's OK
To just lie on the cold floor and weep.

The Ikea Travelator

Holding it together,
Shopping for new sheets,
Yellow bag over my shoulder
Full of homely treats.

I step upon the travelator
and hear a mournful sound,
As the cleaner wipes the handrail
He warble-whistles loud:

“Always Look
On The Bright Side of Life,”
The saddest rendition
brings tears to my eyes.

“No” To All The 3am Thoughts

I haven't got time for the what if's and the if only's,
I'm far too busy for the shoulds and the coulds
My diary won't allow for all-the-ways-I-fucked-it-up,
I'm not entertaining all-the-ways-he-did-me-wrong.

I'm drowning all this out with sitcoms and podcasts
and I don't even care.

The Ritual

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: The fast flowing river Dart / picture by Karen

I've chosen the strongest, sturdiest leaf,
To represent him.
I've picked four fragile blue flowers,
To represent them
(our four lost babies).

I reach the fast flowing river
and place the flowers upon the leaf.
I sing them the songs my mum sang to me
when I was a baby
(mostly Geordie folks songs).

I gently lower the raft onto the water
and prepare to say goodbye
to my dream of being a family
with him and with them
(no part of me wants to do this).

The leaf boat floats along the river
before getting stuck in the reeds
My feet get damp
as I clamber to free it
(the irony is not lost on me).

This happens again and again,
Each time my feet get wetter,
and my heart gets heavier,
until they finally set sail
(really fucking slowly).

I have somewhere I need to be,
I have to walk away
From him, from them,
from the family fantasy
(turning my back was the hardest bit).

If this touched you and you want to read more, I wrote another blog the day after performing The Ritual from the poem above. This one charts my solo day at the Sharpham Woodland retreat, where I asked nature to teach me about surrender.

EDIT: I put this blog out on my personal facebook page and was touched to receive a huge gush of love from my friends. 

After 12 weeks of holding all this in (except with a few close friends), it feels like a relief to have it out in the open. It feels better for the world to know I am living with a huge weight of grief, so I don't have to hide it anymore. It takes more effort for me to try to appear “normal,” than it does to say “Hey, it's really fucking tough in my world right now.”

It's really fucking tough in my world right now and I'm OK, supported and loved.

I hope me spilling my story helps you in some way.


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