I just got another Futureme.org email I sent to myself years ago, when I was still living in Germany.

It was a hard letter to read. I was full of self-pity, but I was also full of immense hope.

I had no idea what would happen to us, and what life would be like if I really got what I wanted. There are no guarantees.

Naturally, I went to the site, to write another one to myself, and hopefully encourage myself for this time next year. (I’m not going that far ahead anymore…)

And somehow, I found this:


It was written by a woman in January of 2006, and sent to herself  10 months later.

Her question: “How’s life now?” is heavy with hope, with frustration and with uncertainty. Her husband suffered the same affliction that killed  mine, and yet hers lived.

It makes me wonder many things. Would this have happened to us? Would I have been able to handle it? Like those who have never lost a spouse, I will never know unless it happens to me, but it’s scary to think about.

It’s scary because it puts me in a great conundrum. Would I rather have Jon live, if he were to exist this way? To be completely incapacitated, after being such a brilliant and able-bodied man? A man who would have surely far surpassed his own goals and aspirations and then some. A man who taught me to look forward to our future.

And maybe I am reading into it far too much, but Jon would be miserable like that. To live for so long as a broken man, forever behind what he was before.

Would it be worth it, even if I could have him here with me?

I might say, two years ago, that it would be. That I would be ready and willing to nurse him back to health, no matter how long it took. And I might be happy just to have him with me, regardless of whether we had real conversations anymore. Because his loss is so incredibly great and painful.

But Jon would never had wanted this. And his prognosis was so poor. The neurologist gave him a five percent chance at life, and said he would most likely be a vegetable.

I didn’t care then. And I still don’t. But I know that he would. I know that he would have never wanted to exist that way, even if it meant twenty more years with the girls and me.

I am not judging this poor woman of her decisions to prolong her husband’s precious life. I am confident I would have made the exact same ones. I would have done what I could to help Jon live, no matter what it took. But it’s hard to think that maybe Jon wouldn’t have wanted it that way.

The lesson, I think, is that no matter what the outcome of tragedy is, we can always choose to find a way to survive it. This woman has a firm grip on the life she has chosen, and regardless of the battles ahead, she is not afraid of her decisions. I had no decision to save Jon, because it was too late for us. But I do have a decision to survive our outcome.  I want to hope, like this woman, that despite the tragedy, I will still be happy.

And I hope that the letter found her in a world of miracles, where she is now able to have wonderful conversations with her husband. I miss those so much.