Hope: What is a heart transplant if not hope? In granting the possibility of new life out of death, it is the essence of hope. Yet, hopefulness is also knowing death is imminent and finding a way to live well into that knowledge. The impulse of hope encourages us to go on despite the odds. Hope indeed seems to spring eternal. In my darkest days, something would come along and lift me up. Hope is a testimony of the human spirit, lifting us up, refusing to refuse us. This new heart brought hope to me, and I believe that in our going on together, we carry the hopes of my donor’s loved ones as well.
February is “Heart Month.” Presumably the American Heart Association chose February as the month to raise awareness about cardiovascular health because in February we celebrate Valentine’s Day which we observe by the giving and receiving of hearts of all kinds — heart-shaped Valentines, candy, jewelry – symbolic declarations of love, of giving our hearts to one another. Hearts have long been associated with love. When bringing our emotions to the surface, we “wear our hearts on our sleeve.” When speaking our deepest feelings, we “pour our hearts out.” Feelings of tenderness “warm our heart,” and compassion “pulls at our heartstrings.” When grieving, we feel “heartache,” and loss of love renders us “heartbroken.” The French word for heart, coeur, associates hearts with courage. We “take heart;” we “lose heart;” we “hearten.” We can engage in a task “wholeheartedly,” “halfheartedly,” or our “heart’s not in it” at all. We can be “bravehearted,” “lighthearted,” “tenderhearted,” “hardhearted,” or totally “heartless.” That’s a lot for the heart to carry.