March 27, 2013

My Heart: 02/22/1970-04/21/2008

The question before me THIS day is ‘What do I miss the most?’.

Today, in THIS moment, that question is too much for me to tackle because what I miss the most is a loss that no one on the outside can see, yet I am reminded of it with the experience of every emotion and with every twinge of phantom pain; it’s the invisible loss of my God-given heart, the heart that He stitched together in my mother’s womb, especially for me.

My Heart: 02/22/1970-04/21/2008.

It’s been almost 5 years since my heart failed, was amputated, and my donor’s heart full of life and hope was seated in its place, but the fact remains that the thing I miss the most is my heart, all that it meant to me, all of the memories it stored, and the spunk I believe it gave me as a person. It was the heart all radiant on my wedding day; the heart that lulled our son to sleep within my womb; the heart whose beat could soothe his cry like none other; the heart that was known to me.

There are some that judge me as having exceeded the allotted time for grieving such a loss. I confess to you that I have little patience for such judgement, especially as I consider how few have lived the right to speak into these moments of my life. I also reject the aspect of our culture that rushes through losses rather than taking the time to steep in the new realities that walk hand in hand with each loss. I am not suggesting that we get stuck, but come on, let’s sit with the experience of the losses.

One doesn’t get over the death of their heart; it’s a process-ongoing though thankfully, I am at a point in my grief that I can use the lived experience to the benefit of others. I am being healed: slowly, yet surely. Know, however, that I will NEVER forget my heart.

I miss the girl who carried her own heart within; the girl who was a fun-loving, full of adventure wife and mom; the girl who could laugh at the ridiculous things of this life rather than becoming so insanely annoyed; the girl who would run into a crowd without concern of infection; the girl who NEVER feared rejection of any kind; the girl who gave her professional life to the provision of healthcare, healing care to children and their families as they walked the road less traveled, the road of cancer; the girl who believed that the end of treatment was the end of the cancer story; the girl whose denial likely allowed her to grow up good, to grow up slow; the girl, innocent and sweet, beautiful and unique; the girl who drank in moments as a matter of habit never once thinking that any given moment could possibly be the last.

Though forever thankful for my new heart, I miss my heart the most and I long for THAT girl I once was [and] hope to become again.

Yeah, give me some of THAT girl!

5 Comments

  1. Cin

    March 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm — Reply

    I am touched by this post. In particular a reference you make on what you miss the most from the loss of your heart and… “all of the memories it stored” I often say myself, and to my kids as they were growing up, that I will take a picture with my heart, and always have it close by as a warm memory. I am so sorry for your loss of that heart, and totally understand it is a grieving that will always be there. (((hugs)))

    • mhyh

      March 28, 2013 at 5:17 am — Reply

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this post with me/us; our hearts DO in fact store memories [cellular memory] and it is difficult at times for me to reconcile a memory I continue to hold in my mind, then realize that the reaction in respnse to sid memory is lost.

      I don’t want another heart to be lost to cancer treamtent: Ever! Yes, the treatments are necessary, but we ought to be able to spare hearts and minimize the effects the myriad of other late effects can have on one’s daily life.

      Steph

  2. JAN M.

    March 27, 2013 at 8:23 pm — Reply

    I, TOO, AM TOUCHED BY THIS MOURNING PROCESS. I NEVER STOPPED TO THINK OF WHAT A TREMENDOUS LOSS IT MUST BE TO LOOSE A VITAL PART OF LIFE AND IT BE REPLACED WITH A NEW PART. THANK YOU FOR WAKING ME UP AND CONSCIOUS OF WHAT A GREIVING PROCESS A RECIPIENT MUST ENDURE.BLESS YOU.

    • mhyh

      March 28, 2013 at 5:21 am — Reply

      Thank you for your kind words. Whether it was you or someone you love who walked the road of organ transplant, you/they may or may not recognize grief as grief. I was so thankful to be alive that it was years before the magnitude of the loss hit, but when it did, the grief did not hold itself back.

      I found that I had been traveling west in the hope of catching the sun when what I really needed was to do an about face, head east, and capture the sun in order to deal with you loss.

      Again, I thank you for taking with time to comment; it means a lot to me.

      Steph

  3. Nancy's Point

    June 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm — Reply

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thanks for steering me to this post. It’s really something. When we are forced to give up body parts, it’s an incredible loss. We certainly do need to grieve for such losses and as you so wisely said, there shouldn’t be any time constraints. Of course one’s heart represents so much, both literally and also figuratively speaking. The heart represents a person’s very being or soul. No longer having your God-given heart, well, very few know what that’s like. And yes, we certainly can feel tremendous gratitude and also grief at the same time. Thanks for writing about this very thing.

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