Matters of the Heart

Written by Emily


For the past 6 days, I’ve been learning about broken hearts. The figurative and literal ones.

In moments of uncertainty, people always talk about the call–the call that changes everything. I can join the ranks of those people now because I received one of those calls on Thursday. My husband answered the phone. Seeing his face, I knew. The atmosphere changed. The energy shifted, and it began.

Over the course of the next several days, I dodged silence. Because in the silence with my littlest curled against me, tears wet my cheeks and my chest heaved. In the silence, the worst case scenarios unfolded in my mind, and I couldn’t make them stop.

Silence is maddening.

During the day, I moved like a robotic shell to and from the hospital. Every time I entered the room, he told bad jokes, silly jokes, light jokes to someone on the phone or to a nurse making her rounds or to one of the many visitors who had come to fill their silence while filling his. There was a lot of laughing, and it was good. I wanted to yell, “Laughter is the best medicine!” Right?! Right?! People say that. It must be true!

But I learned a thing or two about hearts. Laughter is not enough to thin blood or make a heart function. It doesn’t dissolve a clot. Laughter is not quite strong enough for all that. Laughter couldn’t ease figurative broken hearts either. Even in all the chuckling and reminiscing, fear made itself at home behind our eyes.

I slept more in the last week than I have in a very, very long time. I fell asleep with my girls because there was nothing else I could do. I couldn’t fix anything. I slept, but I didn’t rest. I woke to a reflection of a face shaped by the uncertainty that was there even in the nighttime silence I couldn’t escape.

The day’s activities were a given, but phone calls changed our course, as did the capacity for our hearts to sit and wait in a hospital room with a thermostat set so high it stripped any energy we had, which was not much. Our days were like the erratic beat of the heart we waited, prayed to heal.

And then he came home. Just like that. He came home with a prescription to live fully (with a side of medication).

For the past six days, I’ve been learning about broken hearts. The figurative and literal ones. I learned they can heal. Not always at the same time.

But they can heal.

Categories: Emily, Family

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12 replies

  1. I’m sorry you have gone through such anxiety and fear. Reading this post sent chills through me because I know exactly how you feel: last year my mother was in the hospital for nearly 3 months. She came very close to not making it through and she had major surgery to save her life a few days before Christmas. Those days that I spent in the hospital and driving to and from the hospital blurred into one period of awfulness. After she came home from the hospital, I was sick for a few days from sheer pent-up exhaustion.

    It must be such a relief for you that your dad (is it your dad you are talking about in this post? I presumed so but I wasn’t sure) is okay and has pulled through. Take care!

    • Thank you for your kind words. I can’t even imagine 3 months of that exhausting fear. I completely understand that you got sick. Your body allowed itself to succumb after such a long time of emotional fortitude. I truly hope your mother is okay today. Thank you for sharing.

      And it is my dad. Thankfully, he’s a fighter, and it sounds like your mother is, too. You take care!

  2. Such real, true emotion. Now we can breathe.

  3. One day, when MY heart heals, I’ll have to blog about my experience this summer watching my father almost die in my arms. It never ceases to amaze me how the memory alone can trigger the same adrenaline, the same fears, the exact same response as the event itself. I know the feeling, but I won’t presume to know how YOU felt. I think it’s a little different for everyone and every situation. I’m glad he’s ok, though!

  4. When I was 23 my dad had a heart attack and I felt as if my whole world stopped. I’m so sorry you and your family had to go through this. Sending love, prayers and thoughts. What a beautiful post!

    • Thank you for commenting, Kathy! I’m so sorry you have to go through that with your father. There really aren’t the right words, are there? We appreciate the love, prayers and thoughts. Thank you.

  5. Having lost my baby brother to a heart condition just 5 months ago, you don’t know the prayers I was sending up for you as I read this post – I exhaled loudly once I hit the end of the post and discovered that everything was as okay as it could be, and that the post didn’t end in the loss of your father. I am so sorry that you had to go through it, I spent months going back and forth to the hospital and I know how tiring that can be, both physically and emotionally. I’m so happy that your father got to come home and I’ll be sending good energy y’alls way.

    • Oh, Kate! I am so sorry! I can’t even imagine the emotional toll that took on you, the hole in your life the loss of your brother created. I am truly sorry. I’m sorry about any raw emotions this post brought to the surface. Thank you for the positive energy.

      • No, it’s okay! Well, it’s okay since I know your dad is okay! I was on the edge so ready to lose it on your behalf, and was so relieved for you!! I’m truly glad he made it out and I really hope that it brings your family even closer together- helps you all appreciate the little things! 🙂

  6. Hi there! I’m 5 weeks out from a heart attack. After taking care of my body for so many years, I couldn’t believe that I’d been betrayed.

    • Oh no! I am so glad you’re in recovery! I can’t blame you for feeling betrayed. I would feel the exact same way, but certainly your efforts helped with your healing process? I wish you continued recovery! Thank you for your honesty!

      • It’s hard to know what really helped and caused. There is so much new evidence about causality with doctors in the Functional Medicine field. You’re welcome to read my blog to learn about my personal experience at I’m committed to educating women in particular! (and creating a jewelry line for that platform)

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