'When love ends': How I put things back together after everything fell apart

When Liadan Hynes' marriage fell apart she had to work on adjusting to the new reality. In her weekly column, 'Things Fall Apart' she explores the myriad ways a person can find their way back to themselves, as well as the realities of life as a single parent in Ireland


The first time I sat down to write this column, just like this weekend, the country had been covered in a storm. Only on that occasion, it was a snowstorm. For three days, it felt like the entire land was trapped within their homes. Only mine was a home that had fallen apart. The storm felt satisfying; pathetic fallacy.

Each day during the snowstorm, my mother and brother would walk over from their house nearby to check we were okay, with that compulsive need we all get during snow to check in on your people. Of course, there were other reasons they wanted to check in.

And while normally I could happily laze at home all weekend if allowed, the snow brought a sense of cabin fever that created a burning urge to get out. So we, all four of us, adults and my three-year-old daughter, would each day trudge through the snow to our local Starbucks for coffee and cake. One day, snow began falling when we were only halfway there, and we were forced to take shelter in the petrol station. We made ourselves at home sitting on stacks of unpacked water bottles. Bought cups of tea, and sat chatting as if this was entirely normal, and we were in fact at a restaurant. Strangers talked to strangers, the staff came over to top up our cups.

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It felt appropriate, this break from the normal. My marriage had fallen apart, I was about to start writing a column about it; everything felt slightly surreal. It seemed right that the world itself seemed to reflect this, that things had fallen, even temporarily, through the looking glass. That everything had come to a halt.

Now, as I write this, there is another storm. This time, I am putting the finishing touches to a book inspired by this column. It’s called How to Fall Apart, and it is the story of what to do when your life goes off the rails. About knowing when to let go, and then when you do let go, what happens next. About the things you do to put your life back together, the things you have to go through to find peace of mind and contentment again.

Mostly though, it is a book about love. About when love ends. About love that gets you through. About love that lifts you up even in the darkest times. And about a life that feels full of love, even if the happy-ever-after has fallen apart.

How to Fall Apart by Liadán Hynes (published by Hachette Ireland) is out on May 7, 2020. Pre-order from Easons today.

Lia Hynes How to Fall Apart book

Feature photo via Pexels


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