Insurance company name: please provide as much information as you can. “When are you coming to take me home?” Name of Client’s contact . “I don’t know her name, but it’s my wife.” List any major illness or injury within the past year. “I don’t know how I fell; I was trying to fix the roof that night.”

When you don’t even know what is breaking your heart, and those who love you don’t even know you any longer — there are more than enough broken hearts.

I walk every sunrise morning for an hour and do my in-home exercises to remedy a pinched nerve. As my husband is slowly falling into pieces — I am trying to put myself back together. During a recent family visit to the nursing home, he remembered everyone’s name — except the youngest — and mine.

I am assembling a vast ocean of copies of every conceivable document from birth to the present, actually the present-future since proof of a pre-paid funeral arrangement is a requirement. Those documents that are lacking or lost forever must be reproduced and I have become proficient at begging for resurrected records and demanding fee-free copies to supply the demand. It’s maddening, exhausting, and could become demoralizing if I were not pulling on my boxing gloves each morning.

The saving grace is when someone emphasizes, rises to the need, and offers their heartfelt best support. That’s when I know beyond doubt there is not only a God, but he is sending multiple signs and messengers to indicate his presence to me. Serendipity rules!

And just to kick it all up by several orders of magnitude, I am battling an out-of-control onset of a curse I shared with my baby brother. No, not drug addiction, which ultimately took his life in the form of a motorcycle crash.

Racing thoughts is a mental condition where all the synapses in the brain are firing simultaneously at warp speed. In layman’s terms: I can be listening to an operatic aria from 30 years ago, rewriting the middle section of my column because it’s off the hook, and trying to focus on the human being sitting in front of me that I am desperately struggling to understand — all at the same time. It’s not ever-present, there are triggers, and as I have discovered this past year, those triggers thrive on stress and anxiety.

Church members have offered to pray, friends and family have offered comfort, shared stories and valuable advice, all very much appreciated, but what I really would love is to have someone deliver a pot of 3-alarm chili with homemade cornbread to my home — no questions asked. And some day, someday soon, I hope to be the one offering prayers, comfort, stories and chili.

Family is the haven in a sometimes-heartless world.

— Christopher Lasch

Connecticut Media Group