Matters of the Heart


This week has been all about Hearts: Broken Hearts, Open Hearts, Beautiful Hearts and one Heart that stopped beating too soon.

My dear friend lost her beloved husband two weeks ago.

It seems there were many complicated factors involved in his death, but a cardiac dysfunction played a major role in his untimely passing and so there’s been a lot of discussion in the past two weeks about Hearts, especially how they function and what can go wrong. There have also been plenty of discussions in our extended community about Heart Health and how to take good care of the “Emperor” organ.

There have also been many tears shed and the feeling among our community of a very real Broken Heartedness: For many of us, this is one of the most tragic close-to-home events to which we have borne witness. A young wife left to care for two small children alone, the great loss of a beloved son/brother and friend. We have all stared into the abyss of loss in our friend’s eyes. It is hard to bear. One asks: “What do you need? What can I get you?” knowing that the one thing they need can never be delivered.

But this tragedy has also uncovered an amazing capacity for community to come together with Open Hearts to offer succor to the wounds of loss. People dropped their lives and came to my friend’s assistance, offering all sorts of help, creating “Care Calendars” to make sure she is surrounded by love and support as she navigates this difficult transition, donating to her children’s college fund (in lieu of condolence flowers), making incredible trans-oceanic voyages to be there for the memorial… More distant community members wept to hear of the love and care that has poured forth in the wake of the tragedy.

And then there is Daniel: the husband, father, son brother and friend that was lost. What a legacy of Love he left behind.

Since the first time I met him, I have always felt (and said) that Daneil was one of the finest, kindest, most graceful humans I ever had the pleasure to know. He always radiated a warmth and openness that made one feel perfectly at-ease in his presence. And, it seems, this is how everyone who knew him felt about him. As his close friend said in their eulogy: “if everyone lived as fully as Daniel did in his 41 years, the world would be a very different place!”. I agree.

Even while Daniel’s physical Heart had its hidden fragility, his Spiritual Heart was a Mighty One.

Might we all learn to live with our Hearts so open, so full of love and kindness as Daniel did in his short time with us…



the paddle-out @ Daniel’s Memorial. photo credit: Pieter du Toit


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