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.