Our book has not yet been published. It will be out in a few weeks. In some ways, the point of writing the book has already been accomplished. It was a vehicle that allowed us, as a family, to talk about David’s illness and how it impacted each of us. When I wrote, I was writing for myself and for my family. I did not let myself think about a larger audience. I would have been paralyzed. I wrote to put in words the experiences I had over that first year of David’s illness. Now it seems so personal to me and to our family that I cannot imagine how it will be helpful to others which was the second main reason for the book – to be helpful, in some way, to people who are going through or who have gone through such an experience.
I want so much for this to be useful. My experience tells me that so often in our lives we go through difficult events and feel alone with our feelings. Either we do not talk about them or the people around us have not experienced anything like it and cannot understand, or perhaps it is just that we feel they cannot understand. As someone who went through the loss of a parent at an early age, I felt very alone with those feelings. As I grew older and met others who had had similar losses, it was a comfort to me to know they too felt the way I felt, no matter how different our circumstances may have been.
When David became so ill and I was threatened with his loss, I found it impossible to share my fears with any but a few and even then, I said only a small fraction of what I was thinking about and feeling. Despite having written this book, I am a very private person when it comes to expressing personal feelings. It only makes sense to me to have written this book if it can be of use to others who face difficult circumstances. I hope that simply knowing one is not alone with the feelings that such events engender will help. To those facing the loss of a spouse I hope that voicing the shared fear will somehow provide some comfort. In the movie “Shadowlands” a young student quotes his father as telling him, “We read to know we are not alone.” It is my hope that despite the highly personal nature of this book, it will help someone know they are not alone.