If I had to think of a metaphor for the way I feel most days, it would be treading water: trying to keep my head above the water line, struggling to keep carrying on as normal, while my legs make frantic circles below, unseen. Most of the time I manage to do this, but the unseen struggle continues. On the outside I can seem strong, upbeat and at times even funny, but inside, I am riding daily waves of turmoil. Still, I am swimming, not sinking.
I awoke in a sweaty haze again this morning, with pre-dawn darkness still cloaking our room; the world outside silent and still. Since my diagnosis, I have come to know the loneliness of these early hours more closely than ever before. It’s hard. Time inches forward while my mind does pinwheels.
It is in those lonely hours that I allow myself to confront my gravest fears. Perhaps it’s not such a conscious decision to do so, but rather a surrender of sorts. In the daylight, distracted by the relative normality of life, I push them away. But at night they are overwhelming.
I probably don’t need to spell them out to you. For those of us confronted with our mortality, it’s a pretty sobering time. And yet we all know we are going to die some time. We’re just never ready to be reminded of it, especially at the tender age of 37. Read more