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The Hardest Thing Youíll Ever Do

He shot his pregnant girlfriend, that bastard. Shot her right in the belly, right where that baby is. Sheís not breathing when the ambulance brings her in. Blood is pouring out of her belly. So you do what it is you do. You put a tube into her lungs, pump air into it. You call for liters of O negative blood so you can fill her veins back up again. You call the operating room, ask them to open it stat. You give orders to the team. You check the babyís heart beat – itís still beating, but not fast enough. Everyone springs into action. You race her to the operating room, slicing clean through her belly, while the heart surgeon slices through her chest because thereís another bullet there. You open her uterus in one clean swipe of the scalpel, and you pull out the blue baby and hand him to the pediatricians who are waiting with the incubator. Her uterus bleeds, pouring blood. You feel a gush of love for this mother and her baby. Your heart opens. You pray. You plead.

Itís not looking good. The monitor flatlines. You start to cry. The cardiac surgeon calls for drugs. Shocks. Youíre trying to take out her uterus so it will stop bleeding but you can only operate so fast. The cardiac surgeon is pumping her heart in his gloved hands. Everyone is watching the monitor except you. Youíre watching that blue baby, who is getting bluer. An hour passes. The cardiac surgeon should have called the code sooner, but the mother was so young nobody wants to quit. Thereís blood everywhere. The operating room looks like a combat zone. Two dozen people stand there, looking at the dead mother, the dead baby. There isnít a dry eye in the room. The cardiac surgeon and you hug, getting blood all over each other. Your heart is in his hands too, cracked wide open and bleeding. You did everything you could. He did too. And it wasnít enough.

You want to ask the surgeon to suture you back up again, so you wonít feel so much when you lose a patient. But you know you canít. Thatís no way to live.

The Serial Heartbreak

He left you for that woman half your age.

She up and died on you, when youíre only 40 and youíve got three kids under the age of five to raise without a mother.

He wonít call you anymore, after you breastfed him and held his hand during rehab.

She overdosed.

He doesnít love you anymore.

She cut you out of her will, and thatís not the worst part. She cut you out of her life.

He had sex with you right before ending your 20 year relationship.

Your dog, who is more like your child, got cancer, and you had to hold her while they injected her with the drug that made her heart still.

The Hardest Thing Youíll Ever Do

The hardest thing youíll ever do is keep your heart open in the face of serial heartbreak. Closing off your heart is the easy way out. Itís an understandable defense mechanism. It makes sense. Nobody would blame you.

But it will also make you sick and suck away your joie de vivre.

Life is full of traumas to the heart. Pain is inevitable because love is everywhere, and love hurts. Period.

Love is scary as hell. Love is risky. Love is unsafe. Love isnít for the faint of heart. Love takes courage. Love and fear canít coexist. Love means giving people permission to break your heart – over and over and over.

As new friend and fellow Hay House author Agapi Stassinopoulos writes in†Unbinding The Heart, the secret to living a joyful life full of miracles and love is to keep you heart open, even when it keeps getting hurt.

Every day is a lesson in this most important life class.† Every day is a choice to keep your heart open, even when you feel it slamming shut. Every day is an opportunity to practice the art of letting your heart bleed, to cry, to feel, to ache, to gulp, to let go of your ego, to recognize that being right is overrated, to stop judging, to learn the art of forgiveness, to lay bare your soul, even when it doesnít feel safe, to keep doing it over and over and over again until itís like breathing.

Every day, love is a choice, and itís your to make.

What are you choosing?

With a cracked wide open heart,


Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of†,†Pink Medicine Revolutionary,†motivational speaker, and author of†Whatís Up Down There? Questions Youíd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.

Learn more about†Lissa Rankin here.

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the†Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of†Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.† She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.† Lissa blogs at† and also created two online communities -† and† She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


+ add your own
7:06PM PDT on Apr 1, 2014

It's important to feel the feelings. Tough article to get through.

8:21AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

This certainly brought up a lot of raw nerve endings!

Certainly writing a letter to those who have hurt or wronged you in the past can help even if you just tear it up or burn it later, it helps to get all the hurt out in the open.

7:41PM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

I sent my birth mom a message on fb privately. She abandoned us when i was a toddler, and never made her way back into my life. When I turned 18 I set out to find my maternal grandparents, who I had been close to until DSS split us up in foster care and adopted us out. They pressured me to call her, to be her friend, and in the beginning I refused. I gradually decided to try, but after having my OWN child I just couldn't accept the way shed left us, without a second glance. Especially since the situation she left us in was dangerous and toxic, and made it possible for my sisters and I to be raped. Finally I sent her the message. I was hurt, but I was mature. she ended up cussing me out saying Id go to hell for being vindictive (since I asked her to please allow me to live my life without her in it). It was hard to do, but my heart is so mush lighter now. I am much happier

5:25PM PDT on Apr 24, 2012


9:41PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

It all happens.....

11:26AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

I miss the wishes you made for me. I miss the gifts you gave me! I miss the kindness that
no one else can show!! I miss the happiness you can bring! I miss the heart that was so
big that it can love the whole world.

6:49AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012


12:29AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

Most certainly true. By the time we have grown up we surely have learnt to be more sensitive because of what we have been through - we've matured and then we know better .....
Sometimes, we mistakenly open our hearts to people who don't deserve our love or friendship We may long for someone who will take care of our heart, but only a few achieve that ....

12:50PM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

Thanks you

6:17AM PDT on Apr 16, 2012

this has to be one of the most depressing articles I've read so far on Care2.

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