Thursday, February 12, 2015

Heart Month

Every February, for as long as I can remember, in every magazine and in several commercials, we are constantly reminded to be heart-conscious. Whether it’s the cereal we eat, the exercises we do (or don’t) do, or whatever is determined to be good for your heart, advocates for healthy hearts are everywhere.

A few years ago, I was young, and sincerely thought that heart issues were for older people. I thought, “I’m young, my friends are young, we’re healthy, we have nothing to worry about!” I was wrong.

In 2011, my best friend, Danielle, gave birth to her second child, a healthy and adorable boy named Charlie. Two months later, while at a benefit walk, she collapsed. Several days after, it was determined that her heart stopped beating for too long, and her husband and family made the hard decision to remove her from life support. This was truly devastating, and a complete shock.

Witnessing something like that, especially someone you are close to, really makes you open your eyes to things, making you hug those you love a little tighter, and count your blessings like never before. Danielle left a legacy in her two handsome boys, and I see her in their eyes.

She left me with memories, but also left me with the knowledge that our time spent on earth can be cut short in an instant. This February, I will focus on my own heart, and those who I hold so close to it, and I will be reminded that heart health is so much more than whether or not my heart is pumping blood through my veins. It’s about family and friends, laughing and enjoying life. Because that’s what’s truly important, and that’s the kind of exercise I can do without breaking a sweat.