Old News

By Diane Stark

“Oh, Honey, I’m so sorry,” my sister said, hugging me. “We’re all still in shock.”

She was in shock? I was the one whose marriage had just fallen apart. I was in my parents’ basement, trying to survive our first family gathering since my not-so-happy announcement.

More hugs. More sympathetic looks. I knew they meant well, but frankly, I was tired of the Pity Party.

“Can we just play a game or something?” I said, trying to smile. “I just want to pretend for this one night that everything is OK.”

“Oh, of course,” my brother said too quickly. My siblings and their spouses hurried to the game closet, everyone rushing to do as I’d asked.

Before we could agree on a game, my mom came downstairs. She put her arm around my shoulders and said, “Aunt Betty is here, and she’d like to talk to you.”

“Why me?” I asked. “Doesn’t she want to see all of her nieces and nephews?

My mom gave me a look. “You know why she wants to see you.” She squeezed my shoulder. “She’s been through this herself, and she just wants to make sure you’re all right.”

I sighed and swallowed hard against the sudden lump in my throat. “Why can’t everyone just treat me like they always do? Neither of the boys has even teased me. How weird is that?” I shrugged and added, “It’s not like I’m made of glass or something.”

But even as I said the words, I knew they were a lie. The truth was that I could shatter at any moment, and everyone in the room knew it.

“We’re just trying to be supportive,” my mom said.

“I know, and I love you guys for it,” I said. “But right now, what would help me most is distraction. I want to just forget for a little while.”

My sister-in-law patted my shoulder. “It’s OK, Diane. All of this attention is just temporary. Pretty soon, something will happen to someone else, and this will be old news.”

I knew she wasn’t trying to be unkind, but I was crushed. The very idea that my heartbreak would be “old news” was preposterous. My life had completely fallen apart. My marriage was over. My kids would endure a painful divorce, and we were about to lose our home. Everything was a mess, and in that moment, I was sure I would never be happy again.

No, my divorce was never going to be old news. Not to me.

Over the next few weeks, I recalled my sister-in-law’s words. The pain was still so fresh. Nope, no old news here. My heartbreak was still very, very new.

But gradually, as the months went by, I began to feel better. One day, I was at work, reading a book to my kindergarten class. There was a funny part in the book, and several of the kids giggled. Their laughter made me laugh, and one of those precious boys raised his hand and said, “You seem happier today.”

I smiled thoughtfully. I realized that for the first time in a really long time, I was actually happy. I grinned at my class and said, “You guys make me happy.”

That little boy stood up to hug me, and the entire class followed suit. It was the best group hug of my whole life.

It’s hard to believe, but that healing hug happened seven years ago, and those sweet kindergartners are now sixth-graders. But as I write this, it’s painful for me to even think of those precious children. It hurts because today our nation is mourning the loss of twenty first grade students from a Connecticut school.

My heart bleeds for their parents. I can’t even imagine their pain. I pray for them, and I cry for them, and I wonder how they’ll ever move on with their lives.

Some heartbreaks, like mine, do eventually become “old news.” Life goes on, and bit by bit, the hurt fades away until one day you realize it’s completely gone.

But other heartbreaks never go away. They may dull with time, but things are never exactly the same.

I have no words for the parents who have lost their children in this senseless tragedy.

But I do promise to remember them in my prayers.

Because their loss will never, ever be old news.

About this writer

  • Diane Stark Diane Stark is a wife and mom of five. She loves to write about her family and her faith. Her essays have been published in over 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

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One Response to “Old News”

  1. This resounds with truth. It is beautiful!

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