It Can Really Break Your Heart

Well, it is true after all; it is something we have long suspected.

Grief can really break your heart.

A report out last week said scientists have examined what happens to a person’s heart when a loved one is lost.

The scientists say people who lose a partner are at an increased risk of developing an irregular heartbeat for the next 12 months.

The condition, known as atrial fibrillation, affects around 35,000 New Zealanders and increases the chance of a stroke and heart failure.

Queen Elizabeth once said: “Grief is the price we pay for love.”  That’s a reminder that grief is a natural part of life. Grief is something we will all experience. And as you know, religious people are not shielded from it’s pain. Queen Victoria was very religious, but her grief at the sudden death of her husband completely dominated her life.

One of the greatest Christian writers of the 20th century was        C. S. Lewis. This great teacher was so devastated when his wife died that he wrote a book about his awful experience.

How long does grief continue? Well, grief isn’t a race with a start and finish line. Someone has said grief is like trying to swim past the break in the ocean—you wade in, but every once in a while a wave comes up and knocks you back a few feet. You’re still deeper than when you started, but not as deep as you were before the wave hit. How long will it take you to get past the break? It depends on your strength, the ocean, the tide and the weather.

One of the hardest things to understand when you are grieving is why the world goes on like nothing happened. You think everyone should stop and take notice; that people ought to share your pain. But buses run, children laugh, and television announcers continue to smile.

A famous grief consultant, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, wrote: “You
will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.”

Can anything good come out of grief? Well, grief has led to the creation of some fine poetry and music. Even the world’s finest monuments (think of the Taj Mahal), and some beautiful cemeteries.

I am glad that science is at last facing up to the effects of grief. Our belief that death is a new beginning does not disguise or lessen our grief when we lose a loved one.


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