The Unanswerable (#VJWC)

*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’


  1. Well written Antonia, quality over quantity. I wish you a well lived life.

    1. antoniazen says:

      Thank you! You too 🙂

  2. V.J. Knutson says:

    Antonia, you have touched on my own issues – years of seeing doctors, failing health, and now left wondering what this all means for the future. I was bedridden three years, but have crawled out of that hole (fingers crossed – my disease is unpredictable). I feel as if I am living on borrowed time, and must make each moment count. I understand now how you express yourself with such insight – you have faced the unanswerable – you know what it is to walk that fine line between health and end. What a kickstart to this week’s challenge! Thank you for this.

    1. antoniazen says:


    2. antoniazen says:

      It’s hard to know what to say except to send hearts. I always find it hard to find good words when someone has had similar experiences if I know how challenging those experiences can be. I wish you many good days and memories to come and peace within the unanswerable. Thank you for your beautiful comments and the inspiration of the prompt. ☺️

      1. V.J. Knutson says:

        Always nice to know we are not alone, Antonio. Be well.

  3. Hélène - Willow Poetry says:

    I could feel this in the pit of my stomach, a small bubbling fear of unknown, then the serenity of acceptance and living day to day. You have spoken for me as well Antonia. Now I will leave hearts for you, V.J. and all those sharing our “mutual “life” club”💙💙💙

    1. antoniazen says:

      💜💜💜💜 for you too Helene, I’m moved the words spoke for you too and love the idea of a mutual “life” club! 😊

  4. Olga says:

    You have asked the ultimate, unanswerable question of life, other than what comes after death. To come face-to-face with this unanswerable question at your young age is unfathomable, yet you have found the answer within the question, found the map. Your compass and heart will not fail you.
    I have been touched by the same question since I`m closer to the end than the beginning. I hope that I will find the strength in my soul, like you have, to live each moment still given, as an unending task of love for life. Sending you a hug from my inner child. Blessings on your journey, Antonia.

    1. antoniazen says:

      Blessings on your journey too, Olga. Thank you for your lovely, kind words. I hope you live every second. Hugs back 💜💜

  5. willowdot21 says:

    This is such a positive post. We are all finite we all have our expiry by date, we must always be the best we can . 💜💜

    1. antoniazen says:


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