Monday, August 21, 2006

Sharon's heart

It's me, Heather.

Sharon's at Cleveland Clinic today. She's dreading the day because she has to have another tilt table test. The whole purpose of a tilt table test is to induce fainting. I am a heart nurse and I've always disliked administering tilts because it goes against my nature to stand back and watch as someone gets sick and dizzy. My impulse is to press a cool cloth to their neck and face, not watch with fascination as their heart rate slows and blood pressure drops and then they pass out cold.

Sharon's doctors would have you believe that there is something wrong with her heart. I'm here to tell you otherwise.

I cleaned my house from top to bottom today. As I cleaned my dresser, I had to move aside a drawing of an angel carrying a puppy into Heaven. Sharon drew it for me and my son as I cried the morning after our much loved puppy was killed by a car. When I organized my jewelry, I came across a black pair of earrings, a blue bracelet, and a green toe ring given to me by Sharon for no reason at all, except that she said they made her think of me. There's the ankle bracelet that I wore at Cedar Point which she deftly fixed by threading the raggedy jute ends through a tee-ninsy eye when it fell apart one morning. In my bedside table, there is a box of cards and correspondence, mostly from Sharon, nestled next to a little stuffed Teddy bear inside a box that smells of roses from the rose bath petals that she sent me along with a handmade Valentine back in February.

In my youngest son's room, there is a framed print of a lion drawn by Sharon and sent to us simply because my son asked me to draw him a lion and I confessed I had no clue how to draw anything, much less a lion. Also in his room, there hangs a painting of the stuffed puppy he has carried around and tucked into bed beside him since he was a toddler. I commissioned Sharon to paint it for his fifth birthday and she poured her heart and soul into it.

In the kitchen, there is a framed print of some colorful apples and a wall hanging painted with one of my favorites of her work given to me for my birthday. In the family room, there is a print of "Watchful Child" sent to me because she said it reminded her of me once she finished it (and because I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it).

In my back yard, there is a sculpture of an angel that sits on the grave of our puppy which soaks up sunlight all day and emits a beautiful light all night.

Of course, one can't measure the goodness of a person's heart merely by the material gifts given by them. I can honestly say that I would still be here writing about Sharon's beautiful heart even if she'd never given me a single gift. The gift of her friendship is invaluable. She spends so much time talking to me. We've exchanged so many e-mails, so many cards and letters, chatted so many times, and whispered secrets to one another over the telephone. We've shared so much of our lives with one another. The trust she's placed in me has been the greatest gift she's ever given me.

So, she may have some rogue myocardial cells misfiring now and again. She may have arteries that are so laid back that they forget to constrict when necessary, having the unpleasant effect of landing her face first on the rug.

But I am here to tell you that I know her; I know her heart, and it is working just fine.