Change of Heart.


Sudden changes, upheavals, throwing over the old order and its rhythms.

In the middle of the night, I wake and sense death in the room. Not as melodrama, but as an insistent, fixated presence. My first urgent thought is to keep it waiting in order to write down what needs to be written down. A record to let her know all the things I will not be able to tell her if I’m gone. So that she will not feel so alone and abandoned.

The hospital visits, the poking and prodding; being hooked up to monitors, and watching my heart on the ultrasound. It’s as though I have looked behind a curtain, and found a secret, constant friend. One I had churlishly taken for grant, who yet held steady and deep within the darkest days and nights, bearing witness. Fleshly time-keeper of loves of every kind and their memory. Grief-holder, gentle persistent bearer of hurt, betrayal, happiness. Robust, yet tender guardian. Never alone.

This heart’s fragility is a family mystery passed down through my maternal Irish line. They who hold so much and who feel everything. They who douse themselves in whiskey and music, and whose hearts are full to bursting.  And sometimes, those hearts invent a new rhythm, a strange new dance that defies all reason. Arrhythmic disharmonies, like a shout down a well that builds to a roaring chaos of senseless music, rising up through the cage of ribs and into the throat, making a mad bid for freedom. And that’s when you meet with death in the night, and you make desperate bargains.

Is this too dark, dear reader? There is hope yet. There is always hope, and this story has it in abundance.

But resilience can have an unpredictable tipping point. It seems you really can get a broken heart. And this new disco beat* that my heart has adopted was most likely brought on by the stress and heartache of recent years. We all have our achilles hey? And mine finally caught up with me.

And so there was the round of specialists, (and I’m jaded enough to pronounce that tedious indeed), and I dropped about five kilos from my small frame, because…stressful. But there was also emergence, like the sun breaking out from behind a cloud. Completely unexpected in its brightness and beauty. For these are the months of rolling cloud and mists, and change. And I am a creature of air and sudden change – electric, revolutionary, unpredictable. Never be too comfortable.

Wake up!

Lunaria (Honesty) seedlings popping up, merrily.

Rather than hold still for fear of breaking something, I threw myself into the garden. My instinct drew me towards movement and the earth; to gentle the earth with my hands deep, and my heart matching its rhythms. Walking, planting, listening, watching. Great sweeps of Bach drifting wickedly through open doors and windows. Despite the presence of my fiendish familiars, the birds draw nearer. And I’ve made a new friend in the form of a comically large kookaburra, who clearly finds me ridiculous.

miggins garden
Miggins, otherwise known as “Moo”, (for she has the intellect and temperament of a ruminant), also finds me ridiculous.

A mere month later, I have formed a new (professional) partnership, and ideas tumble from me as if from a damn that’s burst. And the will to develop them is fierce and intent, before they’re plucked from the ether by another who can make them flesh.

There is also a character, her story, and her music that continues to haunt me. She tugs on me when I walk, and when I sit outside in the night on my front steps, and feel the movement of the air from the leathered wings of large bats, (swinging blinding through the fruit tree by the fence). I tried to ignore her for a while, but still she is insistent, coming to me late at night, as I curl into sleep. Thankfully it is now only her unwritten spectre, welcome but bemusing, that visits me in the night.

And there is that dear and secret friend, the heart that continues – my eccentric companion most loyal. She who I only glimpsed briefly, but who moved me deeply. She dances on, tenacious, but under a different star.

We are never alone.



*Oh the irony of any sentence that marries me with “disco beat”.

13 thoughts on “Change of Heart.

  1. Oh my dearest I did wonder where you were and if things were OK with you all but got so bogged down in our round of medical things that I forgot to write and enquire, I am sending you all good things to strengthen and renew. You are in my thoughts x


  2. i have missed your writings…i’d hoped you were simply busy living life, not ill!

    i had a similar sounding cardiac incident—that’s what it says on the medical record, “cardiac incident”—some years ago, in 2007 i think. for similar reasons…stress, grieving, justifiable but medically unhelpful anger. hearts are funny old things. i have an “emwave” device from that time, which i use mostly to introduce yoga clients to the magic link between breathing and regulating emotion and pulse.

    “hard times require furious dancing”…perhaps your poor hear simply needed to dance furiously for a little while, to shake off whatever had been bothering her. or to get your attention (bit of a stroppy way to go about it, but we do tend to ignore the quieter signals)?

    going to earth was wise, i’m sure. the earth, which has its own heartbeat that ours mirrors, is always healing. if i were nearby, i would do reiki and brew teas and douse you in rose and jasmine oils. as i am the utter opposite of near, i can only hold you and your heart in my thoughts and wish you well, in all senses of the word: well, whole, hale, and hearty.


    1. Yes – perhaps some furious dancing was required : ) And it certainly did gain my attention. I’m appreciative of the thoroughness of the medical establishment, but it did feel as though I was opening a can of worms I’d rather have left alone, (I tend to avoid doctor’s visits for the most part).
      And if you were nearby I would heartily welcome your beautiful healing offers – and I would offer you tea, and chats, and wanders in the Autumn sunshine and mist. Warmest wishes to you dearest. xx


  3. Oh it is so good to hear from you. Your body was _telling_ you something, when last you wrote here. Though the process was tedious, I am glad that its message has been deciphered.

    Your family needs you. And we need you too. Your words bring joy and thoughts, for deep consideration. Please do follow the advice of all those doctors. Please….

    Love and gentle hugs,


  4. I have been thinking of you and wondering how you were. I am sorry you went through such a scare. I can imagine how horrible it must have been. I experienced something similar myself, a few years ago, but the medical response was a GP saying, ah yes this is not uncommon, this is the technical explanation, have a nice day. I’m glad your doctors have been so careful and thorough with you, and it sounds like everything will be okay?

    Many hugs from over the ocean and far away. I wish you all the blessings of light and flowers and love and health.


    1. Sarah, yes, it does seem to be much more common than I had realised, this heart skittering. It seems I may have inherited my mother’s arrhythmia, which is not altogether benign, but hopefully won’t worsen. Hugs to you, and many thanks for your beautiful blessings. xx


  5. oh my dearest you! I’ve been mostly absent from the internets this past couple of months and to return to this…well, I confess it shook me quite severely. I hope, most fervently, that things are stabilized for you — arrhythmia are frightening and dangerous and…well, frightening and dangerous. *gulp*

    But YES to the healing powers of earth and creativity and (re)learning our rhythms.

    Be well, dear-heart… are a treasure in my world. xoxoxo


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