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Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart

Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart

Marijke Durning | NursingLink

December 02, 2010

Relationships: just the word brings out many thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. There are good relationships and not-so-good ones. There are solid relationships and fractured ones. There are ones we remember fondly and there are those that lie forgotten. But we all have them.

Over the years, anthropologists and sociologists have studied relationships and asked, what makes people connect? What makes some people stick together through thick and thin, and others fade away when something gets in the way? Relationships are puzzling to many of us, and yet oddly fascinating in so many ways.

As nurses, are our feelings towards relationships different because we see how fragile life can be? Has our experience as nurses taught us to be more tolerant? Or do we feel that life is too short and take the opposite approach? Is there something unique about nurses or are we all the same in the long run?

Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart: 28 True Stories of Love, Loss and Everything in Between is a collection of essays about the complexity of relationships. My essay (on page 33!) is about when my oldest son left home, just before he turned 21 years old. But it’s about more than him leaving home – it’s about the cycle of life and how we all leave home at some point.

Other essays are about the relationships that shaped our lives: knitting a blanket for a dying father-in-law, learning to love a partner’s beloved dog, and one about learning that you shouldn’t hide condoms in your parents’ luggage. By putting these stories on paper, we hope to share the feelings that we experienced during those times. They are stories about life – about people. About us.


The truck is in the driveway. The front door opens, winter air blows in. Piles of boxes are shrinking as two young men store them in the truck. Their excitement is palpable and contagious as they go about their work.

One of those two men is my oldest son; the other, a high school friend. Matthew will be 21 in April and he’s been waiting for this day for a long time. Tonight, my son and his roommate will sleep for the first time in their very own place.
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