Do Hearts Really Break?

My Dearest Grandchild,

About a month after your grandfather died, I had to have a physical exam performed by our insurance company. A young paramedic came to our house on a beautiful, sunny day but I saw only rainy clouds and heard thunder. I was “grieving.” Therefore, the actual weather forecast was different for me. Yet, I managed to answer the door and carry out the instructions given to me.

broken_heartWhen he placed his stethoscope on my chest, he kind of winced. Right away, I mumbled. “Can you hear the sound of my broken heart?” He looked confused and rightfully so. I am sure no one else had asked that question. Wise and patient, he sat back on his haunches and relaxed. As he took my wrist in his for the reading of my pulse, I was sure he would find none. By now, the tears were again clinging to my lower eyelids, ready to spill down my blouse. But, we both kept going!

After he had completed the exam, he sat and looked at me. With kindness in his eyes, he spoke of the loss of his young wife in a tragic auto accident. Tears stained his young cheeks and his voice broke. “I understand your loss. I have had my own. And yes, I do think our hearts beat differently after we have suffered the death of our spouse. But, Mary, you and your husband had many years together. I can tell by looking around at your beautiful home, that this was a happy place. Someday, you will be able to accept that with less pain. But for now, your heart hurts.” As the author Jody Picoult says, “We can be heart sore.”

When my precious dog, Herschell , died three years ago, I again felt my heart break into pieces. Though this loss was different, it was the same. My heart hurt for a long time again and still does when I have a tough day. But I know it is mended. Let me tell you how I think our hearts mend.

Because love is so powerful, it encapsulates our whole being, including our heart. When the love line is broken, our bodies feel the loss in a tragic way. The words from an old Bobby Vinton song from the 50s plays in my ears, ”Only love can break your heart and only love can mend it again.” True, true, true!

In my life journey, I did fall in love again and remarry. And, after Herschell died, we adopted two little Maltese sisters and loving them has mended that heart break. I am blessed with all of these experiences, both the loss and the healing parts, that have given me courage to go on.

My wish for you, my dearest, is to love deeply even if your heart breaks through a loss. A very wise lady said to me many years ago. “When something is lost, smile because you had it — don’t cry because it is gone.”

I will always love you my dear child,