*trigger warning, though ultimately life-affirming and determinedly hopeful, this post details difficult aspects of serious health conditions & disability.
My favourite quotes have long included “Do not fear death, fear the inadequate life.” Long the unanswerable question that lurks on the edges started roaring loudly. Long before becoming bedbound for months on end and long before the limitations imposed by my disabilities increased and my health decreased. Years, sometimes decades awaiting various diagnoses and now the hardest wait of them all. My collection of conditions has pointed invisibly to this all along as I’m diagnosed with a rare genetic syndrome and have to wait months to know if it is the worst version of this; the one with an average life-expectancy eight years more than my 40 years. The unanswerable question; How long will I live?
It is not a question that can be answered for anyone. None of us know how long we have. We assume, but my assumptions have been erased. So too have many of my pastimes, my physical and in some cases mental capabilities. And yet, there is a question that is not unanswerable but takes every heartbeat we each have to answer; how shall we live? How best can we live, not only survive but live? It is not an easy question. There are no one-track responses. There is no one correct reply. It is the question answered by each word, thought, breath and action. This is my question; my fuel for inquiry and exploration. How will I live? I will live as well as I can for as long as I’m alive. Can anyone claim more than that?
Live every heartbeat, mean the words that take your breath or time to speak, love and spend your energy wisely, and work to leave the world a little brighter than how you find it. Do what gives you joy today without causing avoidable harm. This is now my map and compass. I trade the lurking unanswered question for the unending task.
In grateful response to V.J’s Weekly Challenge theme, ‘unanswerable’