Friday, May 28, 2010

the myth of the broken heart

Photo by Sandyx3

I don't follow a lot of celebrity news. In fact, the older I get the more I have no idea who these people are who grace the pages of the tabloids at the grocery check-out counter. Our society's idolatry of these 'super-humans' baffles me and highlights the blatant differences between 'us' and 'them'.
Recently however, the death of an actress whom I could name was marked on the cover of these magazines. Although I admit I had no idea who he was before this event, I recall feeling real empathy for Brittany Murphy's husband, Simon Mojack, when I glanced at these glossy covers on the way to pay for our goods. I wondered how it would feel to not only suffer the loss of a spouse but to read about it in all the line-ups you were forced to stand in for weeks after. I had concluded that it may be cathartic to know that others had noticed the absense of the one you held so dear as well. That life hadn't just 'continued as normal'. That the spot that my loved one had held didn't just close over unrecognized when they stopped living.
I felt a kin-ship with this man. He had lost the love of his life as well. Simon knew the emptiness that followed. It made him normal and mortal - not the stuff of celebrity but the stuff of the average human.
Then he went and did something that our society loves to talk of as much as we recite stats on these legendary creatures - He died of a 'broken heart'. I felt like simultaneously screaming and barfing at the checkout counter when I read these words. I felt betrayed by someone who knew what this road was like. And the stupid thing was, I knew it was bullshit that he died of a broken heart. He just conveniently died months after his spouse did and made a fabulous and heartrending story for the media to skew.
If dying of a broken heart was possible, each and every widow/er would have been wiped off the face of the planet the moment their spouse died. This man's death is not some measure of how much he loved her and evidence that my love for Jeff must have been lacking. It is an unfortunate event that happened too soon after he lost his wife. In all honesty, I am jealous. I begged whatever possible higher power there may be to kill me in the weeks and months following March 25th, 2008. I WANTED to die after Jeff did....and sometimes still do. But I have never gotten my wish. So like all other widows/ers out there, I know you can't die OF a broken just die WITH one...whenever that may be.


  1. It's ironic because in the weeks after his wife's death the celeb blogs were shredding him for his "creepy" and "unwidowlike" behavior - as if there was a memo we all get via our inbox the day after we loss a spouse.

    There are so many things about loss that those without experience - yet - love to think are true. It makes them feel better and safer.

    Long ago I quit worrying what my behavior said to the world about my marriage or the love we had. It really didn't matter and it had never mattered to anyone but the two of us.

    I don't think our hearts get broken - bruised maybe - because something that's broken doesn't work anymore and clearly our hearts are still loving and longing and most important, beating.

  2. Well said, and oh so true - especially the last sentence.