I sit here and I mourn a life I would never have. My heart screams out not understanding how we got here. Either one of us. All we know is that we have great joy because of the life we lived, but also a deep underlying sadness that we need to let go of, and, I suppose, we also need to remember.
Why, then, do I have this shameful longing whenever I hear of something normal someone else has done? Why do I weep with sadness when I hear of the joyous arrival of someone’s new baby? Why do I fill with resentment when my doctor’s wife has a child when, they told me I could never have one of my own? I was never sure I wanted children until they told me I couldn’t have any.
And then they said it was possible. Because of my donor it just might be possible. Then I was afraid. Because I now had a choice.
A dear colleague told me today that his mother was a donor. He said that none of us ever really plan to be where we are.
No truer words have ever been spoken.
He said to me he admired the fact that I seem to have been lifted of restraint, that he admired my freedom.
I told him we all have it. Freedom, I mean.
All we have to do is take it.
I have my moments where I question this life. When I wonder why I have to – why WE have to – go through what we’ve had to endure. I often write with confidence that I have found a purpose and I suppose in many ways I have.
But there is still a part of me that is drifting. Trying to understand what this life has to offer me. What a normal life might look like.
In the world of chronic illness, people often speak of finding your ‘new normal’. Those who are in it now, will understand what I mean. But even if you have never been there I think you can probably imagine what it might be like to have something so profound happen to you that you need to readjust your horizon. Constantly needing to find a ‘new normal’.
18 months after my transplant, two years after Vlad, 10 years after my diagnosis I still wonder at the logic of this statement. What does that even mean?
Because, well, what IS normal, anyway?