Once I learned that it was possible for my heart to be broken, I became a master of defense. My evasive maneuvers and wariness guaranteed few heartbreaks.
When my father died so suddenly when I was 12, it wasn’t heartbreak so much as a blinding explosion that signaled the start of a nuclear winter that lasted until I turned 30 and met Buck.
The Peruvian boy I fell in love with while an exchange student doesn’t really count. When I learned that he had not actually jilted me, but rather that my mother had confiscated all of his letters to me and written to him to tell him I had gone away to college and was no longer interested in him, well, let’s just say that my nascent heartbreak turned to anger.
Even when my first husband blandly told me that if I absolutely had to have children, to “go do it with someone else,” it didn’t break my heart, precisely. Oh, yes. I stormed, cried and finally divorced the son-of-a-gun five years later, but it was more a surprise hard slap in the face from a person I thought I knew as gentle than a heart break.
At 33, I married again. It was my husband’s second time at the rodeo, too, and he brought 3 grown children, one infant grandson, and a vasectomy to our union. Our first few years were a joyous tumult. We had started a business together. He still had a full time job as public affairs director for a major corporation. We traveled. We celebrated the finding of our life together.
When I turned 40, we visited a fertility clinic and embarked upon a journey to “achieve pregnancy,” via artificial insemination. After almost a year of no success and tiny heartbreaks every month, we took it a step further and began the medications involved for a Gamete Intrafalopian Transfer (GIFT) procedure. Shots into the gluteus maximus were a part of the process. The serum was made from the urine of nuns. Who knew? The shots had to be given at a specific time in the cycle. My husband reluctantly agreed to do the deed.
After the first shot, my bottom turned bright pink and warm. I developed a low-grade fever. After the second shot, that tender place on my anatomy turned red and hot. My fever was higher. After the third shot, my ass was cherry red, burning, and so was I. My fever spiked dangerously.
The answer? I was allergic to the urine of cloistered nuns. Maybe because I was raised Baptist?
The whole “let’s make a baby” thing came to a screeching halt that night. The Children’s Home Society said we were too old to adopt.
My heart broke with knowing that “me” ends with me. No babies. I knew I would have been a good mother, and how sweet it would have been to have the love of an infant with that blood bond.
The incident of my heart breaking is, strangely, also the occasion of my heart mending, and because my husband loved me enough to do this with me, my heart got bigger with the breaking and more complete with the mending. In time, I became grandmother to seven step-grandchildren.
There is a big heartbreak out there waiting for me, I fear. But I plan to love unstintingly, nonetheless, and must believe the memories will bind my wounds when that time comes.