The world recently woke up to the sad news of Debbie Reynolds’ passing. She was a brilliant, beautiful and strong woman who sadly had to face the hardship of death happening out of order. It left many saying, “What the expletive, 2016?!” and also many more wondering: “Can you really die from a broken heart?”
A few years ago my world shattered and my heart broke into a million tiny little microscopic pieces. It was the day my husband and I buried our sweet baby girl. She was born too early and with too many complications to survive in the physical world and while we understand medically what happened, that day and all the days following, I’ve felt a pain that can only be understood by a fellow member of the worst club in the world: the club for moms who have to bury their babies.
I think about my grandma who lived to be in her 90s until the day she was waiting for the results of a biopsy. Her heart, which had loved so many and felt so much just couldn’t handle the anxiety and fear. She passed away holding my mom’s hand painlessly.
Debbie Reynolds lived a long, full life. She watched her children grow and the world change around her. Her heart had loved and lost and she’d felt the highs of success and the lows of failure. The day her daughter died broke her.
I am not suggesting that you can only die of a broken heart if yours is older and weaker. Because certainly a piece of me died the day my daughter did, but the key to surviving a broken heart is finding something that makes you stronger than the pain.
For me, it is the smiles on my surviving twin’s face and every determined little bone in our rainbow baby’s body. And it is my husband, who is truly my soul mate.
The world can be a cruel, sad place. 2016 can be listed as evidence. And certainly you can feel such an unbearable pain that may cause you to die from a broken heart.
But if your heart is too strong, literally and figuratively, find the sunshine, find the joy, find your smile and you’ll find your mend. —Julie Krashin