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.