We've all felt them. When Dan died it was as if I was having daily heart attacks because of the severity of the pain I felt within my chest. A stubbed toe was momentary relief of the physical pain I felt in my heart. I used to wonder if the pain I felt was anything like what Dan felt the last moments of his life.
Today, those severe heartbreaks/aches are few and far between, however, my heart is far from being above aches and pains for various reasons, and every time they happen, it takes me back to the realization that none of us have any control.
I've struggled with sharing this piece of information, but with careful thought, I do not believe I am dishonoring Dan by divulging it. Dan's cardiac arrest began on the treadmill at Lifetime Fitness, but it didn't end there. He sat down on the treadmill with his head between his knees. He then got up and went to the restroom. Evidently, cardiac arrhythmia can at first disguise itself as nausea or the onset of a very upset stomach. Dan was found slumped over in a stall by a Doctor who had been running on the treadmill next to him and carefully watching his actions. The doctor began CPR immediately, but we all know it was already too late.
Fast forward to last Saturday night, the 18Th. Nick and I went out to a restaurant/bar in Edgewater. There was a point in the night when I happened to look over at Nick as he was walking inside. I watched his tall frame move into the bathroom with a smile on my face, giving a silent thank you to God for my courage and my ability to allow myself to love again. I continued with my conversations and soon was lost in laughs and jokes with friends. I looked over again a little while later, and didn't see Nick.
A rational person wouldn't have given this a second thought. A person who lost her husband begins to feel the rapid beat of her heart. A rational person thinks that he is fine and will meet up with him in a while. A person who remembers watching her husband walk out of the door, never to return again, walks briskly inside the bar. A rational person would glance around and then resume activities with friends, not putting too much thought into the whereabouts of her social boyfriend. A person who lost her husband in a bathroom stands stalkerishly by the men's room door, fighting the urge to rush inside, fully ready to administer CPR. A rational person never would have gotten to this point, so the rest comes from a person who is terrified that the ones she loves will die tragic, untimely deaths. I rush back and ask everyone if they have seen Nick. They haven't. My fears are confirmed, I just know it, he is sick or dead in the stall of Coconut Joe's.
I find Nick listening to the band. It's been a total of fifteen minutes, yet I've worked myself up to the point that I throw myself into his arms as the lump in my throat tightens and my eyes ache as I fight back the tears. I am holding on entirely too tightly to this rational person. This rational man who is looking at me wondering what is so wrong. I wanted to suck the words right back into my smiling mouth as soon as I said them, but it was too late. "You're not dead."
This type of heartbreak is stealth and is brought on by deep fears mixed with panic. It starts as a rapid heartbeat and thoughts that you can't control rushing through your mind. Thoughts that you know are irrational, but you can't help but to think them, and then you can't help but to believe them. Your head is spinning as a rubber band is placed around your heart. Someone is pulling the sides of the rubber band as far as they can extend and letting them go at a milliseconds pace. Your neck tightens and lips quiver even if you are not crying. Sometimes the eye will twitch. When the episode is over, and the things you knew were OK in the first place are really OK, it might end with a few relief tears. Most of the time I can stifle them to only a gloss of the eyes. The heartache is far from over, even if the "episode" is. Your loved ones are OK, so the embarrassment of your panic sets in. The sadness that you have these episodes in the first place, takes you to the dark place where they began. You wonder when the next one will take place, and if you will be able to get through it. You pray.
Sunday afternoon, the 19Th. My sister has a father's day barbecue and I feel no such heartache. The rubber band has snapped in the night, and no longer constricts my heart. The muscles in my face are relaxed until a smile erupts from the love that is presented at this event. I watch as Lilly chases bubbles, knowing that the only worry in her world is whether or not she would catch the bubble or if it would burst before her perfect hands could make the grasp. My heart sang as Carson and Dillon swing as high as birds and slide down the slide. I hold my heart and face as if trying to keep myself on the ground as I watch Taylor stretch and squeal as her Daddy lifts her in the air. I want a million of these days. I want children to protect, and love, and lift. I want to feed off of their innocent fearlessness, their lack of panic, their sense of security.
This is the opposite of heartbreak, I wish I knew the perfect antonym for the word. Then again, maybe I do.... Faith, love, hope.