Takotsubo – the shape of a broken heart

monochrome heart-002

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy

   I’m reviewing a left ventriculography
   from a man with chest pain, MI ruled out,
   his wife dead for a post-crash hour.
   The scan shows his cardiac apex
   bulging with each beat, shaped
   like a takotsubo, an octopus trap
   a Japanese cardiologist recalled
   from his childhood fishing village,
   the scan just another broken heart’s
   beaten down story of futility and resilience.
   And I will say, “I am sorry for your loss,”
   explain the image, reassure him
   his heart muscle will recover in a week,
   all the time wishing I could hug him
   with eight strong arms instead of two.

Richard M Berlin

This seems to me to be a love poem from a psychiatrist to his patient, to broken-heartedness.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy aka ‘broken heart syndrome’ is a real medical condition with physiological symptoms. It is caused by severe stress, and what can be more stressful than the loss of a loved one. Broken heart syndrome can lead to death, and so it is that we can die from a broken heart. Nevertheless, it is usually transient as we adapt to our loss in living, as we resolve the sense of incompleteness in our mind, as we appreciate the timelessness of being and resurrect our hope.

For a reason I am yet able to articulate, this poem provides me with the enormous sense of this ‘thing’ called love, which no one has been able to objectively define yet everyone has hope to experience or has experienced.

There is a grandeur,
an exhilaration,
a comfort,
a strength…
that cannot be universally named,
only felt.
The feeling of being safe and held,
emotionally and psychically;
the reflection in another’s eyes, and
experience of you
as you
with little distortion of the lens,
filters removed.

How would you describe love as you know it, what would it be?

Perhaps there is no need for us to describe our sense of love, it is felt and that is enough. And it is enough to know that we have loved.

– FlorenceT


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