Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Keeping Your Heart Together Through Christmas
On Tuesday mornings I get to talk on WKYB, Danville's country radio station. This was our topic today.
Doctors have long known that there is a spike in heart-related deaths just after Christmas. This is not a huge rise - about 4% higher than one would predict from other months. Being medical types, they looked first for physical causes. They speculated that the cold weather might make people with weak hearts more vulnerable.
To test this, a study was done in New Zealand, where Christmas falls in high summer - the equivalent of the end of July on the northern hemisphere. They found the same rise in post-Christmas heart deaths.
I think the explanation actually says something very positive about human happiness, and human freedom.
We all die eventually, but, with rare exceptions, we don't determine exactly when. But it makes sense to me that people whose hearts are fading make an extra effort to hold on through the holidays. They want to see the family one last time. They don't want to ruin Christmas for other people. Consciously or otherwise they hold on through the year-end holidays.
And then they let go.
Being together with family is, for most people, a source of happiness. And having some control of the end is an empowering exercise of freedom.