What is a heart?
Is it a symbol of love, the place where our deepest feelings lay, the source of our humanity? And what makes a heart break?
The heart is a muscle pulsing with life. It is, along with the brain, an important part of what makes us intrinsically human. In the hospital, it is the state of the heart and the brain that determines if we are considered truly alive … or not.
Ava’s heart… The heart of my dearest darling daughter continued to beat after – long after – her brain had shut down. Her beautiful, strong, and loving heart beat continuously and determinedly, and was placed in the chest of a sweet man whose own heart had failed him: Jerry Finzer.
Ava’s heart… Ava’s youthful, strong heart allowed this fine man to see the country with his loving wife Laurie. It allowed him to enjoy years of love, laughter, travel, and companionship. And Jerry, in turn, loved his heart. He loved the young lady he had never met, yet who had so generously given of herself. He carried her picture with him everywhere he went and shared her story with everyone he met. He literally took Ava’s heart to places she’d never been. And she gave him days, months, and years he would not otherwise have had.
I lay my ear against Jerry’s chest and heard the strong, steady beat of my Ava’s heart. We laughed, and we cried together – Jerry, Laurie, and I. And Ava too… she was with us, declaring life and love with every beat.
Ava’s heart… Her heart never faltered. But Jerry’s body had other struggles. He fought them valiantly, determined to live and love on – for his beloved Laurie, and for Ava, whom he knew was fighting for his life with every beat of “their” heart.
Ava’s heart was a lion’s heart: powerful, willing, strong, and full of love. Ava’s heart, and Jerry’s life, came to an end recently. That loving beat is no more… and that loving man has joined her spirit in the wider universe.
And now, my heart breaks… yet again.