The heart

A beating heart keeping us alive. From the moment we are born, a steady rhythm. Providing a cadence to our emotions, whether joy, love, fear, or anger, each has its own beat and the heart keeps score.

Last week, I was reminded of this on a visceral level when a doctor voiced concerns over my daughter’s heartbeat. Dread flowed through our veins, finding its way to both of our hearts. Tests and speculations began. An undiagnosed hole in the heart? Arrhythmia? Will she need a Pacemaker or other device? Long days of waiting for an ECG then a 24-hour Holter monitor. More waiting for results.
In my worst moments I imagined losing her. I envisaged a hole in my heart in the place she currently occupies. As mothers we know our children never really leave our bodies, we carry them within us forever more. I thought about the hole in her heart where her father’s love once flowed freely, a hole which can never be surgically repaired and will ache for a lifetime. I also remembered a robust young boy I taught years ago, full of life and laughter who collapsed on a basketball court unable to be revived as his heart stopped mid-flight. I will never forget the funeral held in the very same hall, filled with teenagers coming to terms with mortality for the first time. Nor will I forget the grieving mother and my own heart breaking at the sight of her. A life shrouded in sorrow and an abyss tearing her heart asunder.
Then, the much awaited call came through. My daughter was instantly relieved by the doctor’s news. She may have an unusual heartbeat, but it doesn’t pose any danger. If necessary, she can take medication in the future, but for now she can relax. Her heart is functioning as it should.

As for my heart, the tightness releases the moment I hear the news. No matter the distance, our lives remain intertwined.

8 thoughts on “The heart”

  1. Life is short and you never know what is around the corner. I share your memories of that student’s death and also the fear you feel for your children when something is impacting their health. You capture moments so vividly. I was recalling events as I read.


    1. Yes, it certainly left its mark on me, especially filing past the open casket. It seemed inconceivable that he should no longer be amongst us. And yes, life is much less unpredictable than we think. A split second can be the difference between life and death.


  2. Viki..This is so moving about Jean. So old and frail but very self aware and so alone. My mother was also deaf from the birth of her first child and used a hearing aid. It worked but was a struggle. In her old age it was very difficult to hear TV etc.I guess being less mobile must change one’s sense of time…slow you down in a way. So great that you visit her and she knows you. Beautifully written too xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have grown very fond of the old lady but it also is a link to Peter that I cherish. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it is to outlive your favourite child.


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