Feb 17

I was wrong

I thought I was prepared. I thought I had the benefit of foresight.

When we did our first homestudy to adopt from China, the social worker asked me point blank: ‘your husband is already older than the median age for his disease, are you prepared to be a single parent?’ and then she denied our application.

We appealed. I convinced them I knew what I was getting into. We adopted.

3 years later, we updated our homestudy. This time the question was: ‘are you 100% certain you can parent TWO kids on your own?’. This time I must have answered better because we were approved right away.

Then came the transplant. The number of times the Doctors and Social Workers asked us, asked ME, if I really understood what it meant, what the chances were, etc. And every time I answered the same thing: ‘yes, I’m ready, yes, I understand. I have the advantage of knowing. He won’t just drop dead of a heart attack. I know in advance’

And then we made plans. Plan B, C, D. Then Plan W – for Widow. I thought that knowing in advance was going to help. Anticipatory Grief is the fancy term.

But you cannot plan for this. You cannot plan for how your kids are going to deal with it. You cannot plan with how fucking lonely it feels, how scary it is to not have a job, not have a money-earning-plan. You cannot plan for who will stand by you and who will not bother checking up on you.

I didn’t anticipate the fear.
I was wrong. I wasn’t prepared.


  1. Anna in Turin

    You can never be prepared hon, but you never know until you go through all this shit you’ve been through. I know this doesn’t help at all, but sending you big hugs……I cannot check up on you in person, but you’re the first person I check up on on FB. sending all my love sweet V.

  2. Jennye

    Funny thing about all those questions – any of us at any time could be there. Life throws really crazy curve balls at us sometimes (as you well know) and all the planning and well meaning questionnaires can just alert us to potential risks, but are only risk management tools in the end.

    And it is one thing to intellectually know the risks and quite another to really internalize the true meaning of the risk. Even as he was in the hospital – even for a whole year – it was easy to hold out hope that he would beat back that diagnosis into submission as he had before and be granted another reprieve. Who wouldn’t? I did and I don’t have any of the real stakes that you, your family and your close friends do.

    Fear is a constant in these awful periods of loss and transition. You know that from losing your mom. Someday it will be easier. Not better, but easier. You will all learn a new way of existing. I wish you didn’t have this on your plate with all of my heart. I am glad you all have each other.

    I hope once it settles, your new normal gives you some measure of peace and stability to build upon for many many years.

  3. Liz

    there is prepared, and there is prepared. You can sort of prepare for the business stuff– passwords, bank accounts and so on– but you cannot ever prepare for the emotional. It would be great if you could, but no such luck. Especially for the girls.

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