A Heart Breaks Slow

Written by Hollye Dexter

A heart doesn’t break all at once.
It happens a little bit each day. His tiny sock appears in the bottom of the laundry basket. I slam on my brakes and his sippy cup rolls out from under the seat. A sob catches in my throat at Target when I pass the diaper aisle and realize I don’t need to stop.
It happens on Easter morning when Evan, holding his Easter basket, says it is the saddest day because Ayumu isn’t with us.
A heart breaks like ice over a frozen lake. You step, and then you hear the  crack. The sound reverberates through you, changing you. The water below begins to warm and move, eager to pull you under. The hairline fracture gives way and you are submerged, nothing between you and the black water below. Nothing to protect you from feeling all of it. And you know this is only the beginning.

My heart breaks and leaves a hole where Ayumu once was. Grief now fills that space. It is everywhere. It colors the rooms of our house, hangs heavy in the air like rainclouds.
Gale force winds of anger and injustice blow through, and when the storm has passed and taken all it could, all that is left is a yearning love. Nothing more.
And what I know now is that much can be taken from you, but never can love be taken. My love for my grandson is mine, and it is his. Nothing, and no one, can take it from us. Nothing can tarnish it.
This, too, is mine; that I can’t hold Ayumu in my arms, but I can hold him in my heart, in my mind, with my words. I can wrap my love around him, send him my blessings, pray for his happiness. 
Belief is mine; to believe that loving him matters, to believe that one day love will pull him like a magnet, pull him back to us. I can choose to believe that love dissolves the five thousand miles between us. I can believe that love wins.
A heart breaks slowly, piece by piece, and a journey of faith begins.
And so I take my wobbly first steps…
The whole story is here: Love Is a Risky Business

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  1. laurenne

    Awwww! Hollye! You are such a loving being. I can imagine how much those little socks can pull at your heart. I'm sure there will be a reunion shortly. I love what you wrote when it first happened about understanding what it's like to be 22 and scared. Such acceptance. Time will figure everything out!
    Love to you!!

  2. Hollye Dexter

    Thank you, sweet Laurenne. I do have faith. It's looking bleak right now, but..some how, some way.

    Love you, too.

  3. Tracy J. Thomas

    I feel heart broken for you Hollye… I read your words with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I cannot even imagine for an instant going through what your family has had to face with your separation from Ayumu. Yes, the miles are a great physical divide, but continue to wrap your beautiful heart around all that love you feel for him and trust that love. Trust that your love and all the love that is in the universe surrounding you is big enough and pure enough to lead him back to you one day and it will…xoxoxo

  4. Hollye Dexter

    I believe it will, Tracy. Thank you for believing this with me- in doing so you strengthen my belief.
    I love you, beautiful soul Tracy.

  5. Anonymous

    I can't image. I hope skype helps and that you get to visit Japan sooner than later to see Ayumu. I am hoping maybe they will reconcile and Taylor could find himself in Japan raising his son or Ayumi comes back to California for visits or to live. Stranger things have happened. I am sorry it is so bleak right now but time has a way of healing and maybe it will work out for everyone.

  6. Alison Caiola


  7. Kelvin Wade

    UGh. When I first read the story of Ayumu like most people I was beyond moved. You're overflowing with love tempered with heartache. I feel for you. I'm hoping there will be some kind of breakthrough that will find him on this side of the Pacific or something. My heart goes out to you and your family. This hits me even more because over a month ago Cathi had a falling out with her daughter and we haven't seen the grandkids since. There's not an ocean between us. There's a seven minute drive and hard hearts and I'm stuck in the middle and…..the things people do. The things people do.

  8. Hollye Dexter

    I'm so sorry to hear that Kelvin. I understand, though. My mother ( ironically named "Cathi" ) and I lived twenty minutes apart and didn't speak for ten years. Now that she lives in Hawaii, we've just begun a little bit of reaching out.

    It's not the miles, its the distance people put in their hearts.

    I keep Ayumu close to me in my mind, heart and thoughts. I hope that matters.

  9. Judy N

    It does matter, Hollye. And you are the one to remind us all.


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