A Heart to Heart

Written by Emily

“For the first time in I don’t even know how long, I can rest on my side and not feel my heart race. There’s nothing. I can’t feel anything at all.”

And then he smiled.

Relief washed over my mom’s face. Or maybe I imagined it.

To feel nothing.

Before today, that very idea would have terrified me. I only know feeling intensely. Before today I would have told you that not feeling is a scary numbness that happens in nightmares. Before today.

Today, it’s something else.

While my father’s heart was erratic and out-of-control, my mother’s heart was, too. And mine and my brother’s and countless others. Feeling all of the time–hard and turbulent and keeping us up at night.

Worry. Fear. Uncertainty. An unpredictable metronome.

Worry. Fear. Uncertainty. Varying in intensity like an irregular heart beat, spiking unexpectedly while we waited at red lights or paused to fill the coffee pot with water, there when we forgot to try to forget.

If the beeping monitors were ours instead of his, what would the peaks and valleys on our charts say? Maybe they’d read like a poem or a song. Maybe our heartache would be art.

It would be a gift to feel nothing when our heads hit the pillow and our eyes closed in the darkness. If only worry and fear and uncertainty could seek shelter somewhere else, we could appreciate the nothing for just a moment while we make room for relief and joy and euphoria.

To “not feel my heart race.”

To not “feel anything at all.”

I think that might be peace.


Categories: Emily, Family

Tags: , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. I love that picture and the memory that Dzaidzai seemed to be able to soothe her to sleep with the beating of his erratic heart. Will she still love to cuddle?

  2. This is really beautiful. I hope you find at least a moment of peace.

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