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Pieces of a Broken Heart

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

I was jolted out of a deep sleep at 3:00am. One ring, two rings, I rolled over, flipped on the light and answered the phone all before the third ring. Phones were louder in the middle of the night than they were, in the daylight hours. I was a funeral director and death came at all hours.

I arrived at the gentleman’s house. The porch light illuminated the path to the front door. I knocked softly, the door was opened, I was escorted through the living room into the kitchen. The gentleman was waiting, sitting at the table, a cup of coffee cooling in front of him. His son sat across from him, I sat between them. The lights were dim, the house was quiet. Death ushered in stillness that shrouded the whole house. A sacred hush filled us all.

The gentleman spoke. His voice barely above a whisper. Time was of no value, nor should it have been. I listened and learned. He and his wife had been married a long time, almost 70 years. They had known each other as children and couldn’t wait to become old enough to marry each other. They raised a family, they struggled and persevered. They worked, saved money and took vacations. They were the traditional couple. But this night, tradition was broken. He was to die first, not his sweetheart.

The quiet cloaked us once again as his tears dripped from his chin into his cold coffee. I sensed a shift in the room. He felt it too. We both knew the time had come for me to take his wife into my care. We had built a trust. His wife would leave, with me.

The gentleman kissed his wife’s forehead, “goodbye honey”. His heart was breaking as he watched from the door. His son holding him up on the threshold. His wife was safely in my vehicle and I closed the door on my own silence. In my rearview mirror I witnessed his door close and the porch light go dark.

The broken heart isn’t just a cliché. Broken Heart Syndrome is a scientific, medical phenomenon. Some of the characteristics or symptoms include a rapid heartbeat, irregular heartbeats, chest pain and shortness of breath. There is a slight expansion in one part of the heart causing the pumping function to become interrupted. This feels like a heart attack, but blood work shows no sign of damage or blockage in the heart.

While the heart is the beating, life sustaining organ in the body, it resides in the Anahata Chakra. A chakra is an energy center in the body. This energy center includes not only the heart, but the whole chest region, the back, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers and the thyroid gland. The Anahata Chakra is where we exchange energy with other people. Energy cardiologists have discovered that our heart creates an electromagnetic field that has at least a six-foot diameter area of influence. Heart beats can actually synchronize with each other.

All of the Anahata Chakra is involved in a hug. That is why giving and receiving a hug is so pleasurable. Energy is being exchanged with another person. Chest to chest contact, arms intertwining around the torso and shoulders of each other and embracing the back create a powerful exchange of energy. It is adoration on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. It is a sign of affection and love, a connection.

Death. The destroyer of the energy exchange.

We do not want to lose the connection. The Anahata Chakra is out of balance. The living continues to give love energy, but the other person cannot give or receive. Our mind must reconcile with this new phenomenon, our energy is still flowing. Chaos has been created. Death wreaks havoc on our syncopated rhythms. Our heart beats wildly, stress hormones take over. Exhaustion sets in, but sleep eludes us. We feel our heart breaking. Medically it is temporary, but spiritually and emotionally, it may last a lifetime.

The phone jolted me awake at 3:00am. The voice from the receiver sounded familiar, as did the address. It all came back to me. I knew where I was going. A year had passed and I found myself sitting at the kitchen table, across from the son. The house was once again cloaked in stillness, shrouded in quiet. The sacred silence was broken by the son’s whisper, “He died of a broken heart.”


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