That person knew where his life was going until he didn't. In an instant, he was faced with crippling uncertainty. Never mind the future - the present suddenly looked frightening. Could I fight off the depression and anxiety that accompanies crippling loss? Could my marriage survive this? Would I be able to return to the day-to-day?
At that point, there was no 'next year', and certainly no notion of what my life would look like in three years.
Today, there is. Once again, I have hopes, dreams, and a fairly good idea of what the next few years will look like. Just as I used to.
Now, though, it's in the back of my mind that it could all change tomorrow in a devastating instant. But hindsight at least provides me with the knowledge that it's possible to make it through some of the worst of what life can send my way.
I have often reflected about whether what I have learned can be of use for others who are going through similar circumstances. I hesitate to say that my advice would be useful in entirely different circumstances, but I think that the following might have been useful for me in December 2013:
- The only certainty right now are the members of your family and your friends. Don't let any of them slip away because of Anya. She wouldn't have wanted it that way.
- You are not alone. Others are going through similar losses. Reach out and talk to them through local discussion groups. It can help much more than you can realize right now.
- You might think that you can make it without getting help. You might be right. But it is foolish to make the hardest period of your life harder than it has to be because of pride.
- What you thought the future would look like will look painfully different, but that does not mean that it will always be painful, even if that notion feels completely unbelievable right now.
Hopefully this can be useful to someone, somehow, some day.
Finally, it's important to remember that, in hindsight, we wouldn't be where we are now without the support that we were luck enough to receive- even if I happen to be repeating myself.
Thank you first and foremost to you for reading this - if you're still reading and caring about our journey after two and a half years, we are lucky to know you.
Thank you to the incredible friends and family members that were there for our lowest lows, and our difficult journey back.
Thank you to those who shared their grief and our grief through discussion groups. I wish that we would have never met under these circumstances, but I am glad that we did. And thank you to those who created those discussion groups in the first place - it is incredible that they are not a formal part of our health care system. As far as we might think that we have come as a society, we still have a while to go.