It was interesting this week to learn from TV that we can indeed die from a broken heart. It seems that “heartbreak” significantly increases the risk of dying from a broken heart, especially in the first 30 days after a loved one dies, and the doctors now have a word for it, a Japanese word, “taktsubo cardiomyopathy”, heartbreak syndrome, which has many of the symptoms of a heart attack brought on by the grief one can feel.
I can well believe it, because my wife of 52 years of happy marriage died recently, and having previous experienced a heart attack, I recognised some of the same symptoms in my grief. Actually, it did not surprise me, for I have long known that in a close marriage the two lifelong partners become “one flesh”, Genesis 2:24, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’ Consequently, with such a great loss, the one remaining can feel like there is a huge hole in ones own body – as though you are not fully there, for you have lost a part of yourself! Medical Science has now caught up, that if one succumbs to heartbreak completely, it can kill you!
I found the solution was to gradually concentrate on all the happy memories, and on the promise Christians have that, in a resurrection we will be re-united with our loved ones, as we arise from the sleep which is death. Giving oneself over fully to grief can lead to despair, and Christians have great hope in the future, and a calling and purpose which still remains, and helps us to avoid a broken heart.
For more on this, read our article, ‘What Happens when we Die? Page 2 , ‘Articles’.