Monday, April 30, 2012



Yes, I need a manicure after digging in the dirt this weekend and getting my warm season crops planted, but it's my beautifully manicured farm that I'm thinking of as I type. 

Central Park has nothing on this property this morning.  Biltmore?  No contest.  After weeks of flower bed maintenance and watching spring awaken our mini farm, buying chicks and bringing bunnies into the house to cuddle and play, it feels today like it's really happened.  That all that is ahead is summer and the tropical scent of sunscreen and the feel of cool water rushing over our heads as we submerge in lakes, pools, and rivers searching for relief from the relentless afternoon sun. 

I can feel it already when the house heats up to almost 80 even after I've shut all the windows to trap in the cool air from the previous night.  Soon, when the mountains remain tepid through the night, even that won't be enough and I will start counting the days until fall's arrival.  I'm pretty fickle that way. 

But's spring!  Springy, lush, dewy.  I have been so busy bulldozing through life inside this house and focusing on the beautiful people that make up my family that I hadn't even noticed that the mountains are all fuzzy, filled out with leafy branches that make them look "normal" again, rather than sad and cold and shivering in the winter winds.  I watched the daffodils, tulips, crocus, hyacinth, when they first started to emerge, much too early if you ask me.  The nectarine, quince, Ann Magnolia, and forsythia blooming in our front yard didn't go without notice.  I've learned to look for signs that they are flowering so I won't miss the short annual show they put on.  But I barely paid attention to the dogwoods flowering or even the lilac shrub that I wait every winter to see branch out into purple, perfumed clusters of tiny flowers.  Now they are gone, too.  But roses.  Here they come, next in line, ready to do their thing and in a few weeks their buds and fully opened blossoms will be standing out from vases in every room.

It all seems more glorious this morning because I can actually see the plants that bloom in succession.  Our grass, which was getting long enough to wave in the spring winds that blew across the mountains this week, has finally been tamed, for the most part.  A friend of my husband's had offered to mow when he found out that he had been ill but rainy weekend after rainy weekend prevented this kind fellow from being able to come out and get the job done.  It's not like we have so much property that a tractor is required to keep the grass maintained, but there is enough cleared, hilly land that keeping it trimmed is a pretty big chore.  This weekend, however, my husband did some spring maintenance on his riding mower and found that he is strong enough, now, to do the mowing himself.  And he felt better when the job was done than he usually does, much less tired and overheated even after trimming, another indication that, as we suspected, he has been unwell for years. 

Now the carefully tended foliage pops out from shorn grassy areas and I am so happy to see how lushly the perennials, shrubs, and trees I have added to the barren landscape over the years are growing in.  I have been out in it since just after sunrise and have been wondering if cooking and cleaning and teaching and blogging could be ignored in order for me to "play" outside until sunset.  But life goes on indoors, as well, so while we can take our lunches and lessons outside in the sun later on, for now I must enjoy the manicured view from the open windows and get down to business.


A little snake sunning himself in the garden.

Squash and marigold patch.  A friend told me that marigolds will keep the bugs from eating the squash.  I hope she's right!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday the 27th...of April. Guess what that means.

When I moved to the mountains where my father already lived, he told me to never plant before May 1st up here because frosty mornings are far too common past the recommended planting date for the region.  Every year, Dad's advice has proven to be correct and even his warning that there may be freezes well into May.  We have seen it snow and freeze on occasion in that warm month, but for the most part, I can go ahead and plant on May 1st and avoid any frost damage.

Well, today is Friday, April 27th, and though we have just had a few cold nights I am going to go ahead and get my poor tomatoes, squashes, and cucumbers into the ground this weekend, weather permitting.  They have been growing in our breakfast room window all year and are beyond scrawny, ready to stretch their legs in a nice warm bed of deep, enriched mountain soil.

A couple of summers ago I planted parsnip seeds everywhere and completely forgot about them until I was digging a new terrace and path in the garden the following spring.  I kept coming across bushy weeds with enormous white taproots.  Being a Florida girl and new to gardening, I was still learning what indigenous plants grow in this region, so was dumbfounded and kept tossing the roots and greens to the chickens.  They eat everything that grows around here, so I just crossed my fingers that they weren't toxic plants.  Suddenly, when one of the roots broke off in the ground and I sat holding the other end I realized I was smelling parsnips.  Dummy.  Dummy, dummy, dummy.  I salvaged what I could and dug the rest and learned a great lesson that day.  If you let parsnips overwinter, they grow rapidly in the spring once the ground warms up.

I tried this trick with carrots in the fall and just look what I was able to bring into the house in the spring!

I haven't needed to buy carrots for weeks!  They just stayed in the ground until I needed more and would go dig them.  The last batch is in the refrigerator now.  We even use the greens in salads and soups.

So with the addition of my warm weather crops that I will plant this weekend I will have yellow and zucchini squashes, russet potatoes, lettuces, kale, radishes, carrots, two kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, sugar snap peas, onions, garlic, parsley, basil, thyme, and bell peppers in the ground.  My broccoli is staggering along, so I'm not sure if we will have broccoli to harvest this year.

A flock of new chicks, Americanas to go with our mixed batch of beautiful birds, are growing by leaps and bounds and will be released to the outdoors a few weeks after the garden seedlings.   They lay greenish blue eggs and I can't wait to see them!  What an egg bucket we will have in the fridge filled with duck, bantam, "Easter eggs", and the brown ones we get from the other girls.  The brown eggs we dye every Easter turn out beautifully in rich, dark, earthy tones so I wonder what will happen when we try to dye green eggs.  I will have to serve my green eggs with ham, on occasion, that's for sure!
Our dyed brown chicken eggs (larger eggs in the photo).  Aren't the little dyed bantam's so cute?!

The chicks are all feathered out now and have teen aged chicken "squawks" mixed in with their "peeps".  I wish I had taken pictures of them when they were fuzzy and small.

Happy warm season everyone!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Does anyone else have this problem?

What's the point in having an energy efficient washer and dryer and making my own Earth friendly detergent if my front load dryer does this?!!
Anything with a spaghetti strap or drawstring gets ruined in my Frigidaire Gallery Series dryer by becoming hooked on the edge of the lint screen handle and then getting twisted around for 45 min. until it finally breaks off and it drives me bonkers! 

Psht!  "Gallery Series"...What the heck is that supposed to mean, anyway?  The dryer is pretty to look at?  Well, it ain't pretty, the things that come out of that dryer in shreds!

Okay.  My little rant is over and I feel much better.  Guess I'll invest in a few of those lingerie bags and TRY to remember to put things with strings in them before washing.  But I know exactly what will happen.  The dadgum drawstrings on the lingerie bags will suffer the same fate.

Going back to my folding and stain removing now and contemplating becoming even more eco friendly by hanging my clothes to dry on a rope in the backyard.  I guess it would be the lesser of two evils to deal with, bird droppings and more stain removing as opposed to recycling useless articles of clothing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sweet, cluttered mess!

It really is the little things in life for me these days, that make my world go 'round.  I prided myself on noticing them before my husband's heart attack, but now they are bigger, louder, sweeter smelling, more beautiful.  His face, for one thing.  It's silly, but I can't keep my hands off of it.  He looks vibrant and healthy and, since he's shaved his beard, smooth and young.

Hearing him giggling with the boys, or even talking with them, makes my day.  We've had so much time with him while he has been recovering that it's hard just to let him go to work in the morning.  During any absences that have dotted the years we've been together, we've missed each other, but now it's just sweeter and more fun to sit cracking each other up or sappily holding hands just for the feel of it.

My kids act like nothing at all happened, but for moments when we talk about things related to his recovery.  I've realized that I have men, not boys, for children, and they amaze me.

My older son and I were down in my husband's basement lab the other day, clearing a desk to bring upstairs to the new office we are setting up for him in the bay window area of our living room.  We started looking around and saw a picture of the boys when they were about 5 and 3 posing for the camera on the front porch of our old house.  He had attached it through the picture and molded plastic cover with a huge screw into the wall over his desk.  So sweet that he had hung it and absolutely adorable, the manner in which he'd mounted it.  So typical of him.  Then we noticed a model submarine bracketed to the wall above that, a reminder of his days as a submariner, and a little American flag, it's end stuck into one of the holes in the peg board that was also hung over the desk. 

We found a stack of his diplomas-- high school, Bachelor's, and Master's-- and an elegant marble desk name plate and pen set that his sister had given him for his first college graduation.  My son, who is now fourteen, said it was so cute, how his dad had displayed everything.  I agreed and my heart was bursting with love for the man.

It was then that I noticed that the hot water heater insulating cover that we had purchased years ago in an attempt to save energy was carefully wrapped and duct taped around the unit that stands in the corner of the lab.  He must have applied it not too long before the heart attack, as not even the most faint amount of dust seemed to have soiled it.  I wondered when he'd taken the time or even found it, he had been so busy through the fall and winter.

I looked around again and was so moved to be standing in the center of my husband's things, bookshelves heavily weighted with tomes and paperbacks on subjects such as computer programming, astrophysics, and mathematics, the soldering station he'd carefully set up for himself for electronic repair, and the cluttered, piles of organized mess that made up the rest of the room.  My son said that, to us, it looked like the room needed some straightening, but he guessed that his father knew where everything was and that each item had been placed intentionally.

It was one of the sweetest moments and then it hit me.  If my husband hadn't survived the day of his heart attack we would have been down there cleaning up his lab at some point and looking at my sons' father through the things he loved and displayed in his little lab.  How awful that would have been!  Immediately, I wanted to grab that desk and haul it upstairs so I could see his face kiss it all over, but then the basement door opened and there he was, smiling and asking, "Whatcha doin?"

Like all the other times in a week that my husbands face is a real gift to me, this moment was just as special, only more poignant.  I am grateful beyond measure to see that sweet smile of his every time he flashes it my way...and very, very lucky to be his girl.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

From light to dark and back again.

While waiting at the pharmacy for Hubby's dynamite (nitroglycerin) I remembered that we needed band aids for his artery puncture where the heart cath.was inserted.  He jokingly asked for Snoopy band aids.  They had them!  I had to get them.  When I brought them back to where he was sitting we realized that Snoopy even had the same shirt on as my husband, only his says, "Joe Cool" and my husband's says, "Let me drop everything I'm doing to work on your problem." Too funny!  He loves this shirt because it's exactly what goes on at work but he's too polite to wear it to work.  It was appropriate to wear to the pharmacy to pick up the medication he can take to save his life the next time he has a heart attack at work.  :S

It's almost comical how positively I was thinking in my last two posts.  This is just not like me.  I try really hard.  I work on staying upbeat every day but I trust nothing and, really, no one.  I always feel, however, that when things are going well, I will have to pay for it in some way.  "Something's gotta go wrong 'cause I'm feelin' way too damn good.", one of my favorite lines from a Nickleback song.  This mentality leaves me feeling more cynical as time goes by but I am learning inch by inch to not be so fearful.

So, I was feeling really good and excited about life and welcoming spring with open arms.  My husband was having one of the best weeks of his life.  Then he had a heart attack.  BUT I'm not feeling very cynical at all two weeks later.  Thank goodness!  It's a new life.  That was the worst day of mine so far, but it feels so great to still have a husband that I can't even begin to think that we've been dealt a crappy hand.  The fear is even beginning to subside and it feels wonderful to just be together after such a scare.  We both feel as if we've aged ten years in the last fortnight but we are ready for a lifetime together after realizing that we were pretty close to not being allowed to have it.

I'd had the most relaxing morning-- breakfast, yoga, a little housework, and making laundry detergent.  It's so silly but laundry detergent making is my zen activity, running my fingers through the powders to mix them while enjoying the refreshing scent of the ingredients.  I had actually left my yoga DVD playing, the soothing theme song repeating, as I mixed my ingredients. 

Earlier that morning I had kissed my husband goodbye and told him I loved him as I do every day.  He came back in a moment later, having forgotten something, and as is my habit I made sure to give him another I love you.  I never let him leave the house without telling him because I literally think  every time that he could get into a car accident on the way to work or home.  I've gotten into arguments with people before, as to whether or not this is a healthy attitude to have and have determined that it absolutely is.  It makes me appreciate every day with him and every opportunity to show him my love, "just in case".  Later that day I was very glad I had given him that extra I love you.

Laundry detergent was made and scooped into the large container I use to store it in, then the phone rang.  I never answer the phone, avoid talking on the phone, and usually never even hear it ring.  I heard it this time and went directly to it.  I missed the call but a message was left a second later.  It was the doctor at my husband's medical clinic.  I listened three times to make sure she had addressed me and not him in the message.  

When I was sure that I was the one who was to return her call, I imagined and was certain, that she would say that my husband had come in with chest pains.  I don't know how, but I knew that was what she was going to say.  I guess I always worried without fully realizing it that this was going to happen one day and I almost wasn't surprised, yet was completely shocked and shaken to my core, if that makes any sense, when that is exactly what she told me when we were connected.

My husband had experienced a sudden headache then tightness in his chest and jaw pain while sitting at his desk at work.  Because of the way he was ignored by the ER staff at our local hospital when he was doubled over with a gallbladder attack a couple of years ago, he refused to call 911 or go to the ER when he suspected that he was in trouble.  Instead, he drove to the one medical doctor in town that he trusted.  I found out all of this later and wasn't surprised one bit. This is the absolute WRONG thing to do, but I figured that because he was ignored the last time at the ER that his decision to go to her clinic instead may have just saved his life.  She told me that she had already called him an ambulance and that he was conscious and speaking and that I could meet him at the ER.

I don't remember much after that but standing in front of my open closet doors telling myself repeatedly that I had to get dressed.  I was in my yoga clothes and bare feet.  I had already told the boys very quickly what was happening and that they needed to get ready to go ASAP, but then I stood there frozen ordering myself to "grab a t-shirt and go".  I don't own any and for some reason I thought I specifically needed a t-shirt so that confused me even more.  I was finally able to yank things down and get my body to move.  It's so surreal to remember it now, like the story of the idiot lady a teacher told us about in elementary school who gets a knock at the door and opens it to find a stranger telling her her house is on fire which sends her searching for the vacuum cleaner, or was it a coffee pot? The funny thing is, hours later I looked down at my feet in a hospital waiting room to realize I had donned my still muddy gardening shoes before racing to the ER, rather than street shoes.  ???

At the ER they let us right in.  The doctor met me and led me and my children down the corridor saying, "They are still working on him."  I said, "WORKING on him?!"  I was picturing my husband out cold, flat-lining, defibrillators...Nightmare.  He calmed me by saying that he was doing okay, they were just getting him ready to go to the big hospital.  By now we were in the room with my husband and I saw him wide awake and looking at me, apologetically, from a stretcher.  I wanted to go to him but the doctor was explaining everything to me and I was trying so hard to focus on his words because I knew they must be important, but at the same time I was slinking toward the foot of the bed to reach through the jumble of people working busily around my husband so I could just reach his toes.  I hung on to them while the doctor informed me that his condition was fluctuating and that he had been in bad shape when they got to him at the clinic and in the ambulance ride over, but that he seemed to be stabilizing a bit for the time being.

From the doctor I heard, "There is already heart damage.  Ordinarily we would airlift him to Mission, but as you can see we have bad weather today."

My heart just fell.  I hadn't even noticed that it was pouring outside.  I want him airlifted.  The boys and I had taken a field trip to meet the crew of the mountain airlift unit and to see how state-of-the-art their helicopter is.  I knew from that day that if you are having a heart attack, you want to be flown in MAMA to Mission Hospital in Asheville.  An hour and a half road trip is a fraction of that flying across the mountains in MAMA.  I think, heart damage, bad weather, hour and a half trip by ambulance.  It's one of the saddest moments of my life.  I want him in MAMA! 

I was allowed to go talk to him for a second while they prepped him for the heart catheterization he would have when he reached the hospital in Asheville.  He told me that it was the same feeling as the "attack" he had the week before when he thought it was a combination of being overheated in the shower and the acid reflux that he deals with every day.  It was a heart attack, they've told him.  So this was number two and there is heart damage and he has to survive the long ride to Mission?  This glass-is-half-empty girl could not comprehend how this situation could be any worse, or how it could possibly have a happy ending.

We told him we loved him and they took him out.  A paramedic gave me strict instructions not to try to follow them, that they would be going too fast in the ambulance with police escort.  He told me to take my time in the stormy weather.  I didn't know how I was going to get us over there but we headed out after saying a prayer in our car and driving to the clinic where my husband had left our more reliable vehicle.  I knew that I would feel safer in it but hated to take the extra time to switch cars. 

Halfway to Asheville, because I remembered that the night before my husband and I had, out of the blue, discussed living wills and I took it as some kind of sign, because that's the kind of spaz I am, I decided that he didn't have much chance of making it.  It had been too long and I worried that he just couldn't survive this.  I remember when he was having complications after his gallbladder surgery and they took him away to look for a pulmonary embolism.  I was scared to death because his blood oxygen levels were dangerously low and they needed to find out why.  He wasn't afraid or worried.  He was totally at peace and okay if worse came to worst.  I remembered this while trying to get to Mission and felt at peace that if he didn't make it he would be fine with it.  I knew he was calm and feeling just fine. 

I asked my grandmother and friend William to meet him if he had to go.  Then I just asked God for peace and to drive us the rest of the way.  I wasn't thinking clearly and it seemed like we would never get there.  I don't remember anything else until we were on the interstate and I was saying out loud, "I'm on the interstate?!!  Are we on the interstate?"  We were.  Then I remember nothing until we were two exits away from the one we needed to take.  I don't know who drove me there.  I don't remember doing it.  I'll take it as answered prayer even if the numbness was my own body's coping mechanism in a time of crisis.  I don't recall merging at any point, or even other vehicles on the road, I was only aware of the relentless rain.

We reached the hospital, went into the ER entrance, assuming he'd come that way, and gave a girl at the nurse's station his name.  She had no record of him coming in. 

I was really trying to keep my composure at this point while she looked through "four systems" for any evidence that he had come to the hospital.  She asked me several times if I could have beaten the ambulance there.  I told her there was no way.  Needless to say, I was weak in the knees and thought that it could only be bad that he hadn't made it into the hospital.  I was thinking of his condition deteriorating and them having to slow or stop the ambulance on the way, or of a possible accident in the rain.  Then I finally decided that she had no record of him because he didn't make it and he had been taken to the morgue.  It's sick to be so negative, but I didn't know what else to think and she COULD NOT find him. 

After several phone calls and giving his name, all the while typing away on her keyboard and looking confused, I heard her say, "chaplain?" to the person she was speaking to on the phone.  I really almost sat right on the floor at that point.  Why would she be talking about chaplains if we weren't about to be pulled aside to get the worst news of our lives? 

She hung up the phone and told me that they were sending us a chaplain.  When she saw how scared I was she said that the reason they were sending a chaplain is because they could get me to where he was the fastest.  I thought, yes, to the morgue.  I didn't know that he was okay and had no reason to believe that my world wasn't about to crumble.  She directed us to a corner with chairs to wait and I pulled out my phone to beg for prayers from my Facebook friends and family. I had already called my mom, soon after heading to Asheville, to ask her to meet me at Mission.  She didn't get my message so was not there and I have never felt so alone. 

The chaplain came and I was waiting for the roof to drop on my head when she started leading us down the hall.  I ask her point blank if my husband was alright.  She seemed surprised that I didn't know and assured me that he was there and okay, up on the cardiac floor.  She was not sure of his condition, however, because she was not the chaplain of that floor, another one would be assigned to us. 

Oh happy day!  I didn't really care what happened at that point, my faith was restored a bit and I thanked God, then brace myself for what the day would bring.  But I really do think they need to work on their system a bit.  Jeesh!

Our assigned chaplain was amazing.  "They are here to take care of him, I am here to take care of you.", he told us.

My husband was having a heart catheterization to see what was going on.  He was actually behind the double doors across the hall from the family waiting room they had opened for us, so close, and the chaplain would keep us updated on his progress.  Before I could even think about where we would stay overnight, assuming the boys and I would have a long haul ahead of us and would be camping on the very chairs we were sitting in, the chaplain told us of the Rathbun Center, a kind of Ronald McDonald house for family members of critical patients to stay in.   He had already made a reservation for us.  He prayed with us, gave us a brochure with instructions for checking into our room and, not thirty minutes later, it was ALL OVER. 

I couldn't believe it when we got the news and the surgeon came in to show us before and after images of my husband's arteries and heart.  An artery is so obviously closed off in the before picture, looking as if it is clamped shut from the outside.  His heart is literally dying at that point, I am told.  Then, in the after photo, an arrow points to the opened section of artery where a stent has been placed. 

I asked him, "Is this the end of something or the beginning?" 

He confidently looked me in the eyes and said, "This is the end of something.  You will have to be the kind of family who spends weekends hiking and bike riding to keep him active and he should have a long, healthy life."

I could feel the ground below my feet again.  So grateful for the best case, worst case scenario!  I could have been hearing such terrible news but it was terrific!  Yes, he had a heart attack, but because he did, this was the beginning of a new life for my husband. 

Very serious was this "boy" from Harvard we had been hearing about for the last hour and were now speaking to, who must have been but didn't look a day over seventeen.  The kid who had just used my husband as a guinea pig to do the cath. through the arm rather than the leg as part of the study he was heading, was now grinning just a little at the corners of his mouth and saying, "He told me he's going to make a game after me and call it Artery Blasters."

I said, "He does make games and apps.   Did he tell you that?" 

So nice to laugh about something for a moment and so adorable of my husband in his delirious state, feeling funked up on sedatives, to say something like that.  He doesn't remember it at all of course, but is now determined to keep his word. 

We were able to see him as they wheeled him out from behind those double doors where the procedure was performed to across the hall to the ICU.  There was some debate as to whether or not he should even be put into ICU to recover, he was doing so well and was no longer considered an "emergency" patient, but the admitting doctor won, arguing that because of the manner in which he reached the hospital, he needed extra care so my husband was moved to the Intensive Care Unit, we were told, for one to four days.  Fortunately, the local ER doctor was wrong and the cardiologist at Mission could see no permanent heart damage, but tests the following morning would be performed to determine that for certain. 

No damage. NONE.  My husband was discharged the next afternoon directly from the ICU which I have never heard of or imagined happening.

AND it was our son's birthday.  I remember last year pining for lost years as he turned from ten to eleven but under the circumstances all we could do on this birthday was celebrate.  We will celebrate both my son's and my husband's life every year after this.  The little guy's birthday plans were completely wrecked, but after a crazy day fraught with one headache after another we made it back to our little town and home. 

I was able to get a tiny cake made from a portion of a packaged cake mix just in time for him to blow out his candle and make a wish before the clock struck midnight and his official birthday ended.  Undeterred and just happy to have his daddy, he told us that he would like to move his birthday to the following weekend.  We readily consented but couldn't stand the thought of him waiting so long so gave him half of his presents, anyway.  What a sweetheart! 

So now our life begins again and we are back in the light.  I was so nervous the first couple of days.  I kept wondering why they heck they would allow my husband, who had just had a heart attack, to come home and recover under my care.  I am not qualified for this at all, and, as it turns out, I am not a very good "nurse".  I forget to take his blood pressure before giving him his medicine and sometimes, those first few days, I would sneak out to the living room for chocolate when he couldn't have any. 

Then there was my big panic attack/melt-down, complete with hyperventilation, my first that didn't occur in a drug-induced state (Demerol on day two following an appendectomy.  Last dose I ever took.).  Obviously it was a delayed reaction from the whole incident that had my "patient" trying to make me feel better at 3 a.m.  That's just wrong.  Especially when I am supposed to help him keep his stress level down.  But the problem is when you're "patient" is your best friend and the love of your life and you suddenly fear that you will wake up every day not knowing if your time together has run out.  It was just a little too much for a minute there, but fortunately a temporary state of mind...I hope.  Things seem much sunnier these days and I am determined to keep my outlook bright and hopeful for both our sakes.

Things are looking brighter and brighter.  I wouldn't even look back at that day after the meltdown, knowing I had to just bulldoze through it without "looking around", until tonight when we went out for dinner and my husband and I ended up talking about the day he had his heart attack, the whole time we were at the restaurant.  It's like we felt safe to finally talk about it because we were outside of our home. 

He told me his play by play recollections of the incident and I finally told him all of the story from our side.  With our kids giggling away about this and that in the booth across from us, we both got watery-eyed at different points and ended up clinging to each other while we talked.   

We are in the midst of celebrating 20 years as a couple and are determined that there will be decades and decades left to grow old together.  I almost can't wait to see how strong he will be in a year and to totally feel like this is behind us.  And to help him, I will learn, once and for all, how to be a glass-is- half-full kind of person.  It's my renewed mission in life because never ever ever has anything turned out as badly as I am certain that it will looking ahead with fear and dread.  I've got to get that into my head and remember it the next time I'm wimping out over something.

Do anything you can to control the amount of stress in your life.  My husband's heart disease is being blamed on stress and genetics.  One of those he can influence. 

And if you love someone, hug them tight.  You really never know what can happen.