These past 10 years have been the hardest of my life. Almost exactly a year ago, Laura’s CT scan came back with pages and pages of new cancer tumors. They poured out of the fax machine in what seemed to be a never ending stream, detailing tumors in her bones, and every organ except her heart and brain, ending all hope that she would survive and we would live happily ever after. And 10 years ago this month, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, the only disease other than AIDS that makes you uninsurable for long term care, because it is so unpredictable and merciless.
On vacation reading Liane Moriarty’s clever novel What Alice Forgot, about a woman who loses 10 years of her memory and then with the eyes of her younger self looks in horror at her present life, I wondered how I would judge these years if I could go back a decade? From the outside it appears to be one catastrophe after another. I’ve lost so much and suffered greatly. But wrapped up in this decade were also the most meaningful and beautiful years of my life. I met my soul mate, miraculously regained my health, the door opened wide to a whole new spiritual world and now, oddly, I feel like I am becoming who I am meant to be.
Before Laura got sick, I would daydream: “What if we had met when we were teenagers? We could have had 30 more years together.” I was greedy for more Laura. But Laura just laughed and said we wouldn’t have been ready for each other. ‘I wasn’t ready for this kind of happiness earlier,’ she said. We both weren’t.