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Dying of a Broken Heart - Not Just a Euphemism

15/02/201219:30
Dying of a Broken Heart - Not Just a Euphemism
Natalia Antonova

I hate Valentine’s Day. This wasn’t always the case - I used to think of it as a good excuse to drink wine and receive useless, pretty gifts - but then I grew up. Now I dread this yearly celebration of the Romance Industrial Complex every year - and am always glad when it’s over.

Still, I’ve always found that there is something unbearably smug about the dismissal of simple romantic gestures. Life is miserable enough, and if people want to coo over each other - yes, even in public - then they ought to coo over each other, the ambiance of the so-called Age of Irony be damned.

In that light, I found a recent study interesting: apparently, one can die of a broken heart after all. At Imperial College in London, they’re doing research to figure out why some people die just a few days after a devastating loss - and it would seem that intense emotions, such as grief over the death of a loved one, can lead to actual heart failure.

You hear about it all the time - an old couple lives quietly together for 50 years or so. Suddenly, one of them dies. A few days later, the bereaved spouse follows suit - even if they had seemed perfectly healthy to their physician and to everyone around them. Folk wisdom has always suggested that once you lose the will to live your body will shut down, and in this sense, science is merely confirming what we have always known.

When J.R.R. Tolkien constructed the elaborately detailed universe, in which The Lord of the Rings is set, he gave the immortal elf race one peculiar characteristic: they could literally die of grief after losing a loved one (they could also be slain - but that’s somewhat beside the point). The majority of Tolkien’s work deals with grief in one way or another - particularly the way it can affect humans, driving them mad over time - and I think that in making the elves susceptible to Broken Heart Disease, he was ultimately making a comment on human relationships as well, the elves being, in some way, stand-ins for perfect, or at the very least, more genuine lovers.

According to Tolkien, true love is simply peculiar like that: it’s both the happiest and the saddest thing to ever happen to you.

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RIA NovostiNatalia AntonovaDying of a Broken Heart - Not Just a Euphemism

19:30 15/02/2012 I hate Valentine’s Day. This wasn’t always the case - I used to think of it as a good excuse to drink wine and receive useless, pretty gifts - but then I grew up. Now I dread this yearly celebration of the Romance Industrial Complex every year - and am always glad when it’s over.>>

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  • arnoldvinette@yahoo.comValentines Day for the single man
    17:47, 18/02/2012
    What does a single man do on Valentines Day who does not have a steady girlfriend, wife, or kids to shower Valentines Day gifts on?

    When I was growing up, Valentines Day was eagerly anticipated as the kids in school were encouraged to send all of their classmates Valentines Day cards that were gathered and put into special Valentines Day bags located at the front of the class.

    In high school this grew into Secret Valentines that one could purchase to send to the girl or guy of their dreams.

    As a younger child, my parents had a lot of fun preparing a special Valentines Day morning surprise for their kids. There were chocolates, Valentines Day cards, and other fun surprises.

    As I got older I would carry on this tradition with my wife and kids until I was divorced in 2006. However getting items for my former spouse was really not that much fun as she didn't like the Valentines Day Hearts and didn't like bouquets of flowers. She always complained and was unappreciative.

    Now divorced and single again, I still haven't lost the love of Valentines Day. I usually start planning as soon as the Valentines Day Hearts filled with chocolate come out into the stores.

    Who will be the recipient of this years surprise? I look back on the year and the women who have been most involved in my life making a positive difference.

    This year it was all of the women who work at the Gloucester Library. I see them from time to time during the week and over the course of the past year we have become great friends talking about the latest movies that have come out. They are always friendly and always polite.

    So it was with a great deal of fun that I arrived on Valentines Day with a very large Valentines Day Heart Shaped Box filled with chocolates and two dozen red roses.

    The roses were to be given away to the first 24 women who came into the library after I left.

    Valentines Day is not about you get. Valentines Day is all about what you offer to others to say thank you for being such a wonderful person.

    My own Valentines Day would be spent making fresh home made Russian bread and buns. A valuable skill I learned in Yoshkar-Ola on a summer visit in 2007.

    In the evening, I would enjoy the 1943 movie Casablanca for the first time and just love it!

    Valentines Day is all about showing others how much you appreciate them, NOT waiting to see how much others appreciate you.

    The staff at the library were thrilled with their Valentines Day chocolates and red roses. It was the first time in 25 years of operation that a library patron had ever thought to say "Happy Valentines Day" to them. Their two dozen red roses allowed them to share the joy of Valentines Day.

    Arnold Vinette
    Ottawa, Canada

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