When I was younger, my mother and I, instead saying “I love you,” would tell each other “my heart is full.” It seemed the only appropriate description for those times when we were surrounded by family and friends, safe in an invisible envelope of love and laughter. It was the feeling of a full meal in one’s stomach, only in your soul. Today, my heart feels as empty as it ever has.

Fifteen months ago, we graduated, filled with excitement, ambition, and hope for the future.

Ten months ago, despite some of my own very public advice, I began sacrificing myself on the altar of those dreams. I stopped working out. I stopped playing music. I stopped reading for pleasure. I stopped writing. I began to understand the reality of 18-hour days and living out of take-out containers. I lost myself in a hole so deep I’ve only begun to climb out.

Three weeks ago, I suffered my second heart attack in four years. I was 3000 miles from home, on a work assignment, alone. I had the opportunity to call 911 myself and sit on the bumper of a fire truck, in the parking lot of corporate housing complex, neighbors looking on, while an EKG confirmed what I already knew. I was able to lie alone in a hospital bed through the night, trying to begin remembering what was important to me. I had to keep myself calm as I was wheeled into surgery.

And then, on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, my world, our world, our lives as we have always known them exploded. And beyond just our innocence or naivete, we’ve all lost at least one of our own. Probably many more.

Today, my heart is finally and fully broken – figuratively as well as literally - and even processing it is too much for me right now.

So I did the only thing I could do, the only thing I had left. I went home to Vermont to be with my family. I checked email to find out how you all were. And then I turned off the computer and I went sailing with my father, trying to understand something that only God can understand.

Call your mom and dad, your brothers and sisters, your friends. Hug your husband, your wife, your children. Reach out to the people you’ve let slip out of your life for stupid reasons - pettiness, pride, a sense of infringed dignity. Reach out to the people you have loved and who love you, the people who have helped you become who you are.

Fill your heart, and fill the hearts around you. It’s later than we think.

God bless you, Dan.

Mike Dupee

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