Heard on the news this week: Broken heart syndrome is a real thing.
It happens after significant stressors. Too much adrenaline. The heart is weakened. It hurts.
There’s a scientific name for it: takotsubo cardiomyopathy. It derives from the Japanese word for “octopus trap,” after the shape of the left ventricle of the heart in this condition.
It is temporary. The broken heart can heal in a short time, maybe days or weeks.
It can sometimes lead to complications. Rarely death, though.
It seems to affect mostly women 50 and older.
But I wonder.
I wonder, as I regularly step in for teachers who are out.
I wonder, as I absorb laments and frustration and anger about the depth of student struggles.
I wonder, as I listen to students reading poems about tasting the salt of their tears.
I wonder, when I wake up so tired on workdays, when I have so little left to give when I get home.
And I am usually one to see the glass half full, to find the awe in each day, like…
the blue heron standing a glassy pond on the drive to work
the whorls of white smoke floating up from the chimney of a little house in the countryside, struck by the rising sun and transformed into clouds of peach-colored light
the newest photo of my three-month-old granddaughter who’s beginning to smile more and more
hearing my boy play old hymns on the baby grand piano at church with such a multitude of notes and joyful liveliness that surely, surely the angels dance
the one little bird (a cardinal?) singing for all it is worth, from the treetops
-these things strengthen my heart.
And keep it, I think, from breaking.
It is a long season, this pandemic, with its deep layers of residue.
On this day of celebrating love and hearts…I wish you healing peace for the pieces.