I am struggling a lot with grief lately. As it has become increasingly apparent that my life and my body will never be the way they were before, I have thought a lot about what that means. How they are different. If I can live with it. I think few things cause as much personal revelation as grief. Every fear is amplified. Every dream is farther away.
I had such a firm idea of who I wanted to be. I knew exactly. I wanted to be a doctor and travel around the world. I wanted to get married and have kids. I wanted to treat infectious diseases. I wanted to live in twelve countries for a month each to live abroad for a year. I wanted to buy a little house and paint it purple. I wanted to have a home where every shelf was low enough that I could reach it without standing on something. I wanted to be happy. I wanted a quiet little life with a rewarding career and children. I knew the life I wanted. I loved that little life.
You do not naturally love the things that populate the set of your life. You do not love sitting on the couch. You do not love drinking water. You do not love walking your dog. You do not like to breathe. You do not love every moment when your throat isn’t swelling. The moment you begin to love these things marks a fundamental change. It happens when you glimpse a life beyond the veil, a life where you can’t take out your own trash or drive or clean your apartment. Everything you do is imbued with a frantic appreciation. You come to love these things but you wish you didn’t have to.
I really loved my life. It was beautiful. It was warm and full of possibility. I wasn’t grateful for breathing or waking up to an alarm clock because I didn’t have to be. I could never have imagined how bad things would get and how hard it would be to become a different person with different goals and different dreams.
It has taken me years to build a new life. Nothing beautiful is easily repaired. There is beauty still but it is deeper and less obvious. It is not the excitement for the future. It is not the having of things and opportunities. It is the rare moments when you aren’t struggling. When things are wrong but not more than usual. When the pain is managed. It is the kind of beauty you can only find when everything around you is burning. Beauty is nothing. It is a feeling. It is silence and a heartbreaking void where you can rest for a little while.
I am trialing a new biologic tomorrow in the hope that it will help me to eat again. I am scared that it won’t work. I am scared because I don’t think I can live like this. I am tired.
There is still beauty in my life. It is just harder to find it when every minute is a struggle.