A Word To The Heartbroken

You know you’re in a special place in life when you have named a season after yourself. In the Koctar household, this summer has been officially named “The Summer of Courtney.” Dustin is also participating, but it’s different. That’s a whole different conversation, when you and your spouse don’t experience the same thing and grieve very differently. Ya know? So this is a summer devoted to healing. It’s a summer of picking up the pieces of both of our hearts. It’s the summer of taking care of ourselves. It’s the summer of finding ways to move forward with put back together hearts.

This one is for the heartbroken. Because I’ve come to the conclusion that we all may grieve for different reasons, but grief is grief. Whether we’re grieving something living or something that has passed on. Dreams die. Heartbreak is real. So, this is our survival guide to heartbreak. THIS is the summer of Courtney, y’all.

Get out your Bible and read it. Now, hear me when I say this has been the hardest for both Dustin and I. (I have an entire blog post drafted in my head about how we spent weeks doubting the existence of God. I’ll save that one for a rainy day, folks.) Even if you don’t want to. Even if you are threatening to become an atheist. (What? Not me. Never.) Even if you cannot for the life of you think good things about God. Get your Bible out and read it. Because you know what? Jesus will show up. He will take your heart that is beating hatred for him and he will start to heal it. He will do it while you cuss at him, while you say terrible terrible things to him, and while you question how and why you can believe in someone who lets crap happen. He will. I swear to you.

Don’t make any life altering decisions. When you go through any crisis, I think it’s pretty normal to want everything to be different. I was ready to quit my job and move to a different city or at the very least move to a new house. Under wise counsel, I’ve been repeatedly advised to chill out for just a minute. I have been kindly told that I am in no mental or emotional state to make big decisions. They. Are. Right.

Change things. I have rearranged our house and gotten new furniture. I’m painting walls. I’ve dyed my hair. Change things that aren’t life altering. It’s good for the soul for things to look, feel, and be different.

Keep dreaming. Keep talking about the future. It was a big deal for us to say out loud that we still want to adopt. We want kids who don’t have families to occupy our home. We want to keep doing this thing. Keep talking about things you want to do. Whatever they may be. Don’t get stuck right here right now.

Take a trip. GO SOMEWHERE. Anywhere. Literally, go anywhere. Just get away. It does wonders for the soul.

Do something fun. We’re on a quest to find the best hot chicken in Nashville this summer. Is that fun for everyone? Heavens no. But it’s fun for us. Find something fun and do it. Or find lots of somethings that are fun and do them. Just keep doing stuff is my point on this one.

Normalize what happened. Whether it’s talking with a counselor, a spouse, a friend, someone else, or all of the above… keep talking about it. I’m not saying talk about it with everybody or even publicly, but talk about it with someone. Act like it happened, because it did.

Set aside times to not talk about it. We’ve had to intentionally set times where we are not allowed to talk about adoption, JT, what is happening, etc. We just cannot talk about it all the time. We COULD talk about it all the time, don’t get me wrong. A hard reality has been that WE CANNOT CHANGE ANYTHING. And oh, how that pisses us both off. We could talk circles around it all. We have talked circles around it all. We’ve had to stop, though. It wasn’t good for us.

Do things for other people. When your world stops, it’s hard to think beyond yourself. It has been so good for us to do stuff for other people. It has been as simple as buying a gift, taking a meal, or sending a text message. It’s been a fresh reminder that life is hard for other people, too. It’s also been a healthy reminder that life is still good, good things do happen.

Have a sentence. Form a sentence that sums up in 15 words or less what happened. Our sentence is, “Oh, things got delayed a little bit so we’re still waiting.” We say it when we just cannot talk about it again. We say it to people who don’t need to know anything. We say it when we do not under any circumstances want to talk about it. This one especially has been so freeing for me.

Take care of yourself. Do not underestimate the power of eating three meals a day and taking some vitamins. Throw in getting good sleep and drinking lots of water, and my goodness. Maybe it’s just in my head, but this one is golden.

Do mindless things. And by mindless I do not mean Stuck, the documentary about families and kids stuck in the international adoption system. Nope. I’m talking Candy Crush and The Mindy Project. Find mindless things to do and watch. Do and watch them.

Do things for yourself. For Dustin that’s been playing lots of golf. For me it’s been cooking and going to yoga. And who would like to talk about how yoga is spiritual? I have made it through one class without crying and zero classes without wanting to cry. It’s healing, y’all.

This is what we’re doing. This is how we’re surviving heartbreak. Anybody got anything else to add?



  1. I cannot for the life of me find a “contact me” on your page, but I am ugly-crying at work today. I stumbled upon your blog, and in the vastness of the internet I think God knew (scratch that, I KNOW God knew) that I needed to accidentally find and read someone else’s honest-to-goodness, gut-wrenching, I-AM-NOT-OKAY-RIGHT-NOW feelings. thank you thank you thank you for sharing. all of it.

    it’s making my present state of mind feel slightly better, knowing I am NOT the only one.

    1. There isn’t a contact page- you aren’t going crazy. 🙂 Thank you for this comment. So glad these words were good to you. You are most definitely not alone!

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