The Way to Go

“If someone cuts Joel, I bleed. We are that close.”

These were the words spoken by a man’s wife – a man who went into the hospital for a normal, routine surgery, and who then then ended up having a heart attack during his recovery.

Extreme stress overtook his wife when she heard the news. Over the next few days as she tried to process what had happened and deal with the situation, all the while visiting him in his hospital room, she collapsed from what doctors called “broken heart syndrome.” Fortunately the collapse happened when she went to see him, so she couldn’t have been in a more perfect place when it occurred. Had it been elsewhere, hospital staff don’t believe she would be around today.

I used to watch movies and read books when I was little, and whenever death, grief, sadness or loss came up, I would cry. At a young age, I couldn’t bear to imagine any such scenario happening to me and my best friend. Imagining her absence from my life was too much. When we were little, my best friend was my whole world.

As I grew older and moved away from home a few times, I would imagine my parents in those situations. Again, more tears; picturing them gone forever was nothing short of paralyzing. My biggest fear was that they would pass and I’d be across the country. Now my biggest fear is losing them ever, period. But I know the day is coming. It’s coming for all of us.

Assuming one of my parents passes before the other, I am confident the one who’s left will pass of broken heart syndrome. They’re both capable of giving a look that finishes the other’s sentence. They both can make the other’s heart skip a beat and, I’m sure, stop entirely if one ceases to exist.

They’re both the kind who would bleed if the other was cut.

I think of all the ways we can go, and two of the most terrible for me would be to die in a plane crash or to drown. In most cases, I think there’d be too much consciousness and time to think, to reflect, to mourn and to regret before my end finally came.

Most people probably think that dying in their sleep is the best way to go, and I used to agree. It would be peaceful and, since I’ve always loved getting my Z’s, it seems like it would be a good fit. I don’t know that I’d ever want to die doing something that I loved, but if I were to pass due to the immense, undying love I had for someone, that would be OK by me; broken heart syndrome seems like the way to go. It would be strangely validating, in a way, and it would speak of the fact that I chose well, and that we’d found each other in this world that seems to become more strange and more upside-down by the day.

I imagine the person who would inspire my broken heart syndrome. They’d be someone of whom I feel fiercely protective, and who feels the same towards me – unwavering, loyal protection. Someone whose back I have, and someone who has mine. Someone who is a partner in crime. Someone who is both a dream catcher and a dream maker. I’m thankful for the person who’s in my imagination, because they’re born of the broken heart syndrome – the syndrome seemingly tailor-made for hopeless romantics and hopeful realists everywhere.

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