Friday, August 27, 2010

The Heart


I usually listen to NPR in the morning while I get ready for the day. Unlike the local news, I relish the global review of the latest whatnot, politics and events. There is something amazingly humbling in hearing about the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan...I'm complaining about laundry? The trembling voice of the Chilean miner's wife who is camping in the barren desert in the smallest of tents even as you read this, until her husband can be pulled from the collapsed tunnel he is trapped in--a process that may take months--reminds me that while my husband is putting in long hours at the office--he is coming home tonight.

Sometimes, perspective is everything.

Every Friday there is a segment called StoryCorps that airs. A minute or two of dialog between usually two people--often "interviewing" although sometimes it's just one telling their story. This morning it was a married couple. He has Alzheimer's. She is his caregiver.

Honestly, I had to do my eyeliner over three times.

She asked him what he had learned from the disease. He said, "I have learned that I am not made up of memories or knowledge. I've learned that who I am....is in my heart."

This has hunted me all day. Even as I type now I'm fighting back tears.

Who am I...in my heart? Am I kind? Critical? Generous......demanding?
.
Who are you in your heart? If you lost all of your knowledge, your memories, your past....if you were just your heart....who would you be?
.
With your children....your spouse...your neighbors.

Would I be able to find joy in waking up? In toast and a poached egg and a cup of tea? Could I live inside of one single day without tomorrow, without yesterday? Can you imagine...holding on to no anger, nursing no worries, no fears... just today. To be content. In only today.
.
He sounded happy. Quite stunning really. I think I envied it, even while I ached inside for what he had lost. Perhaps it had been balanced by what had been gained?

What is the value of peace? How much does serenity cost?

At the end, his wife said that she had read somewhere that if you loved someone....truly loved them...you would wish to outlive them. You would voluntarily bear the burden of loss and grief and hold them to the end. She wept.

She told him she was so glad, so very glad she was there to hold him.

Who she was in her heart.....was breathtaking.

29 comments:

Irish Gumbo said...

(jaw dropping)

wow. That's all I got. (sniff)

Everyday Goddess said...

astounding. every bit. thanks for posting this.

Ann said...

I...

I had to stop reading...

I'll finish, I promise.

Who am I, in my heart? Oh God that's an overwhelming question.

Are you true to ... are you a persona? Are you true? Are you what you think you should be?

I'll go back and finish reading. You always send me, always.

(I'm going to send this post into the blogosphere and Twitterverse and... and... I feel the need to print it. I'm heading to the beach next week. That will be a wonderful place to think about this and the next phase my life is taking. Thank you for being the incredible spirit, energy you are Chantel!)

Ann said...

And by saying 'Are you true... a persona?' I'm talking about myself, not you. You know that, right? :->

AngieB said...

beautiful and thought-provoking. This one will be simmering in my head all weekend.

chris said...

thank you for sharing this... it's a lovely reminder of what we're really all about. the heart.

Linda Myers said...

Thank you so much. I missed that story. I want to take a close look at my heart and see who I am.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

That's a wonderful story. You've really got a lot of people thinking now. It's hard to imagine feeling peaceful about losing one's memories, but clearly he has done it.

Chantel said...

My dear friends--sometimes I reread words that seemed to gush from me...and I wonder if I did justice to what I was trying to say, what I was feeling. This particular piece is still echoing through me--like waves after a storm. I want to live better...love better. If I can inspire others to do the same? Thats simply amazing.

Danielle said...

Very thought provoking post! I amlost think that I would be a better person if I just lived with my heart. My memories and thoughts have made me somewhat bitter and crusty. I know that in my heart though, I can love.
Hmmmm, a lot to think about.

Chantel said...

Danielle--I know exactly what you mean...

Terry said...

I am a new follower from Follow Me Back Tuesday. I would appreciate it if you could stop over and follow me back.

I am giving away a Halloween Apron 10/5 to one of my followers.
http://myjourneywithcandida.blogspot.com/2010/01/halloween-apron-giveaway.html

Show Me Mama said...

I am your new follower. You can visit me at http://showmemama.blogspot.com

Mom et al said...

Oh, I just knew this was going to make me cry. Beautiful.

I believe for most our hearts are where we are most pure. I am a great person in my heart. It is my brain that gets in the way sometimes.

Just A Mom (Call me JAM for short) said...

Note to self... Do not read Chantel's blog after drinking wine, while in the same room with husband and teen son.

Needing kleenex, and the guys just don't get it.

Amanda-The Nutritionist Reviews said...

Hello, this is such a tearjerking story!

I found your blog from Follow me Back Tuesday. Have a great day!

Mommy Katie said...

Wow, this is a tearjerker, I love your blog!! I am a new follower and I would love a follow back!
http://www.mommykatie.com/

Just Trying To Save Money said...

Just stopping by to say hi!! Have a great Labor Day weekend!!

www.justtryingtosavemoney.com

Melissa + Tiffany @ Home Grown Families said...

I hope I am that good of a person. We never know until we're tested...
Thanks for linking up at Home Grown Families Friday Blog Hop! We're following you now!
Tiffany

jennoreilly said...

Nice post, interesting question you purpose...I haven't an answer, at least not yet!!

Here from FFF, happy friday.

Amber said...

Following from the Fun Follow Friday!

Hope you have a great weekend!

www.mysidewaysgravity.com

Kelley said...

This was beautiful!! Seriously. I loved it. Who we are is in our hearts...we are not made up of our memories. That's good stuff. So glad you left a comment on my "Personal Space Invaders" post over at LOL or I wouldn't have seen this post! I'm following you now. :)

Mandy said...

Holy hell. Chills, chills, chills all up and down my arms.

Beautiful.

Thank you for sharing this. It will stay with me.

Allison Zapata said...

wow. tears.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

So grateful to have read this. Thank you.

Found this from Allison Zapata...

Peyton said...

Beautiful story. Thought provoking for sure. New reader here.

Shrinky said...

She is truly breathtaking, indeed. I always tell my husband I refuse to outlive him, I am far too selfish to be the last one left to turn out the lights. I listen to the BBC World News every morning, it sure does set things into perspective, doesn't it?

Big Mark 243 said...

...wow... though you are no longer "here", an recent entry of mine used a clip from the movie, "Friday Night Lights" that speaks to the contents of the heart...

So... how does your hubby put up with your pokin' him with the jab..? I KNOW you have taken a shot or two at him... the urge to do it is too strong, especially when you want to see what your punches can do..! :0)

Chantel said...

Mark--I don't quite get what you're referring to with "poke at my husband?" I mention he puts in long hours at work, but I'm grateful that he's coming home. (referencing the story of the minors in which their husbands were NOT coming home) Both of us appreciate his job while wishing he was home more--this was the jab? Other than that....perhaps it was when I asked who you would be in your heart with your children/spouse/neighbors? I think we are different people often depending on the situation; the level of intimacy alters our decisions.

Anyway, glad you came by. I never intentionally poke at my husband, I feel this very public venue is not the place for that.

(unless you were talking about my telling you I box? If so, lol, we don't spar--I like to hit hard, nothing held back.)