Beginner's Heart

Once, many years ago, I made it through the night breath by breath. I remember laying in the twin bed next to my mother and thinking: one more breath. just one more breath. And I thought: you can die of a broken heart. you can just choose to stop these so-called autonomic reflexes… and just die.

And it turns out I was right. You can die of a broken heart. Even just broken heart syndrome can leave you feeling like your heart has, in fact, shattered. Into pieces.

I remember thinking: you can just stop breathing. you can hurt so badly that you just stop breathing.

The human animal is a fragile ecosystem, it turns out. We can survive freezing temperatures, scale incredible heights, run for hours and birth quintuplets. But there are hurts so deep —  losses so grave — that the heart cracks into pieces. Like a knife improperly tempered, the heart fissures and breaks.

Somehow I find it comforting that there is a medical name for something that seems so primal. I find it even more comforting to know I made it through la noche oscura del alma, that dark night of the soul. The heart heals. Begins again. It gets better.


Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus