Monday, December 14, 2009

"Now Join Your Hands, and With Your Hands Your Hearts" --William Shakespeare


My brother's wife is pregnant. The baby is a girl. The girl has a heart, and this little heart has somewhere on it an "abnormality."
"Down syndrome" they are whispering. It could be...but there are tests, and then there is waiting.
__

My big sister has a heart. She thought she left it four states away yearning for friends and home seven years in the making. Sometimes she thinks her heart got left a whole country away. Out there past plains and rivers that cut down the middle, through forests and deserts, over the Rockies, just hibernating, waiting.
__

My little sister wed her heart to someone else who left it by text message slumped on the floor in the hall pumping anguish just as readily as it pumped joy a year before.
__

My Mom has a....well...the biggest heart you ever done saw. I think her heart makes her tears. It makes lots of them. Reserves from which she dips for every happy thought, every sympathy, every bout of consuming laughter, every hurt, every passion, every moment with the divine. I don't know that she lives a single day without dipping into that pool.
This week her reserves are dangerously low from excessive use.
__

My Dad has a heart. On Tuesday it betrayed him.
Or, rather, he has been betraying it for too many years now.
While I put my children to bed in an otherwise empty house his veins were refusing access to his heart. Well, we know what to do with veins like that. We bypass them...if we are surgeons, if we wear gloves and know how to open chests, and make microscopic stitches.
__

I have a heart too.
I'm not sure about mine.
It could break under the right conditions, which I would likely label the "wrong conditions" were they to occur. But that's just it - nothing is breaking my heart. I feel the fast and fluttering empathetic beats that come with troubling news, but I am still whole, still...happy...mostly.

__

These are hearts made alive by mingled blood, flesh of my flesh. They are as surely and intricately connected to one another as they are to the veins that are wound about each one delivering life.

Miracles are the stuff behind seeing my Dad and my Dad seeing me yesterday. Grace is the approbation for questionable words that might not leave his mouth on better days.
"Oh please...let me go home," is his invocation to all the life that comes after this, the life that would not have been his without a bit of sacred serendipity.

All our hearts break, and all our hearts heal.

My brother and his wife have no less love in their hearts for a child with down syndrome. My big sister was smiling today as she talked about the life she builds next door to the Sacred Grove. My little sister loves with, and is loved by a better heart than she has known before. My Mother ate cookies with me by the fire last night, her heart making new tears to cry over happier things, and my Dad...

...my Dad beckons me to come close enough to hear a dry, slurred whisper, "Jesse, help me. You've got to bring me a knife. I've gotta cut these things off."
Yes, his hands are tied down because they are connected to arms that might be better described as sledge hammers, which are in turn connected to an oddly functioning brain at present. In short, he can pack a mighty punch, of which nobody wishes to be the recipient.

But the knife bit tells me he's on the mend. He's really stretching to gather his wits about him...such as they are.
Oh, alright, Dad. You've got pretty impressive wits. And you may brandish them at will in no time.


2 comments:

Susan said...

And, Jess, there are in-law hearts that are also interwoven with yours and that love you and yours with a chosen, real-family love. We hope and pray your dad will soon be well. We hope and pray that our beloved Nita will feel peace. We wait for good news, and we send you our deepest love because Rasmussen hearts are mingled with Leavitt hearts.

Aubrey said...

Jess, the building of said home begins. And your words had tears running, eyes blinking and smiles forming. Thank you.
Love your way my forever dear.