heart of the matter

Apr 29, 2023

My father used to say “nothing good happens after midnight”. Was it a deeply held belief or something to keep his teenagers in line and in the house before dark?


This phrase leapt to mind when my phone buzzed at 3 am. My daughter-in-law asked if I could go to the ER to be with my son, her husband, while she stayed at home with their sleeping toddler. After 13 hours of waiting and tests, more waiting and more tests, my son was admitted for surgery.


Moving through a series of waiting rooms full of lethargic strangers, I had plenty of time to ponder in light of this and other recent health-related events.


Less than a week earlier, I had dropped off my other grown son at the ER with chest pains. That was only days after my partner was diagnosed with a heart issue that required an imminent surgical procedure. Thankfully, my daughter-in-law was able to postpone her own scheduled surgery which gave us all a bit of breathing room.


Simply put, it was a lot.


So it was back to basics – hydration, nutrition, walks, sitting, and care-giving. I also started checking my own blood pressure. My partner purchased a home monitor for his own health regulation plan and we plan to bring it out at parties which should make us quite popular among the geriatric social scene.



It was the simple things that became the heart of the matter when the weight of days became too much.  Slowing things down exposed my indiscriminate over-helping and the residual resentment. Slowing down also allowed me to hear the clock ticking, the sound of my breathing and the impulses of my own heart.


Simply put, it was enough.


“Now that my ladder’s gone
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.”
(W.B. Yeats)


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