Broken Heart Syndrome

by Sherry Riter in Health,Lessons of Life,Relationship

Thomas Barrett Ulam at 88 years old, passed away on Tuesday, August 11, 2009. His wife, Mary Catherine Ulam who was 82 years old, passed away on Tuesday, August 18, 2009. They had been married 62 years.

I would say that they were really in love, huh?

April 2009 in Troy, Kansas, Arnita Yingling died in her sleep at the age of 93. Six hours later, her husband Lyle Yingling, age 95, died. They had been married 67 years..

Coincidence? Is it possible to die of a broken heart?

Quite simply put…yes. It has been named the “Broken Heart Syndrome” or “Stress Cardiomyopathy.”

animated pumping heartThe stress hormones, namely adrenalin and noradrenalin, suddenly flood the system and stun the heart which is unprepared for the large quantity of hormones thus impairing the heart’s ability to pump.

In contrast to the first sited couple, last month, Sir Edward Downes, a British conductor and his wife, Lady Joan, a former ballerina, choreographer and TV producer chose to end their lives, hand in hand, via assisted suicide at a Zurich clinic. Sir Edward at 85 years of age was almost blind and increasingly deaf while 74 year old Lady Joan may have received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. The couple did not leave an explanation for their decision to die together after 54 years of marriage.

Three couples.

Two different scenarios.

One reason.


Unless you’ve lived under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of John Gray and his Mars Venus explanation of relationships. He says that there are five traits of a long-term couple in love and no one is too old to learn them or to change:

  • Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
  • Lead with the love in your heart.
  • Do things together, but keep separate interests as well.
  • Practice patience. Each of us moves at our own pace.
  • Live the commitment of “for better or worse, in sickness and in health.”

What makes love last? It comes from a constant respect, commitment and passion for one another.

I think we all know that already. It is the practicing of those principles that actually makes all the difference.


This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Oh Sew Good August 23, 2009 at 11:34 am

Beautiful post.


2 Joan August 23, 2009 at 12:18 pm

I like this post.

Thanks for the list from Gray. My husband and I will celebrate 19 years this fall and we adhere to that list as much as we can.


3 From the Kitchen August 23, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Good Morning. You recently visited my blog although I don't know why. I had only posted once a few years ago and then forgot about the endeavor. Well, come back. I've started posting and will be taking "baby steps" in the blogging world for awhile. I noticed that you are from/in Richmond. I'm assuming Virginia? In any case, I'm a native Virginian relocated, via many movies, to Chicago.


4 Scrappy Girl August 23, 2009 at 3:00 pm

I totally believe in those 5 ideas…marriage is WORK! I am so blessed to have a good hubby. Hope you are having a great weekend!


5 Amy August 23, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Wow that is true love for sure…


6 Lee August 23, 2009 at 4:00 pm

I know older couples that that has happened to as well. One passes and the other a few months later. Beautiful post.


7 Chief August 23, 2009 at 8:50 pm

What a sweet post! I am so glad I found your blog! I am following you in the BlogFrog


8 Kimberly August 23, 2009 at 11:26 pm

I know that is true and it seems so sweet to me. Especially for those of us who love the Lord and know we go on to be with them.


9 Kelly August 24, 2009 at 1:45 am

Yes, we all know this, but putting it into practice is the hard part. Especially patience. I've only been married 9 years, but there have been several times I was ready to give up. All I know now, I'm glad I never did. The more I know my husband, the more I love him.


10 Jane In The Jungle August 24, 2009 at 3:36 am

Great post!! We're coming up on 17yr married, been together 22 yrs….couldn't imagine my life any differently!


11 Shawn August 24, 2009 at 4:53 am

I believe that this can happen—-isn't it amazing?

Great post….


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