With a heavy heart my partner and I agreed today that we would have our old retired racing greyhound put to sleep next Tuesday morning. He has a tumour which has grown to the size of a half football on his side which hasn’t bothered him much until now. But he’s in pain today, I can see it.
I spent the day with my son, who’s very small, but quite wise for one so little. We took a bus, a train, a boat and a taxi and then went out for a scoot together. Two nights ago he asked me if I would die. I didn’t really know what to say. I put my hand on his chest and said I will live a long long time and that we all live on through the people we love. His hand rested on top of mine sandwiching my hand on top of his little pumping heart. Since then he’s raised the topic of dying several times with me. Tonight we decided we would both live forever and this made him happy. I can save the truth for a bit.
I was talking on Friday to a friend who lost his father quite quickly and painfully. His demise hadn’t been a good one – messed about and messed up by the health service. His mother has developed a heart condition in the process. This got us talking about cardiac coherence – a concept I picked up in David Servan-Schreiber’s book Healing without Freud or Prozac. Cardiac coherence is when the physiological systems which accelerate your heart are perfectly balanced with those which brake it – you are in balance and your immune system is fully optimized.
He writes about a boy and his dog who happened by his lab and for fun they tested for cardiac coherence. Sure enough when the boy and his dog were together the electrocardiogram showed each of them to be in the state of chaotic balance which is cardiac coherence. When they were moved apart they kept a healthy heart rate but came out of coherence. Brought back together and the coherence returned.
I’m not sure my dog ever did that for me. He’s a lovely old chap, but he doesn’t bring me inner peace. One person that does though is my little boy. Like the boy and his dog, I have become aware that simply being physically close to him often swings my heart slowly but surely into perfect coherence – I am happy, at peace and have a full heart.