One year today.
I’m sitting here staring at those words, feeling the significance. Thinking of the many nights when I laid awake, wondering how we’d get through. The nights when I couldn’t stand the sound of the juicer, couldn’t bear the sound of her pain, when I went out into the darkness and got down on my knees and looked up at the stars and prayed to make it through another hour.
I’m remembering how much laughter there’s been. Even on the worst days, we always laugh. Often, I sing. I turn on the music and I contort my body into ridiculous poses, just to make her laugh.
She always laughs.
This morning, to celebrate, I sat in Current and said silent prayers of Thanksgiving. In that quiet, I felt so much love that I wept—and then I remembered a story. To be specific, I was shown a story:
It was three weeks after the diagnosis, and we were driving up the mountain from the doctor’s office in Rio to the farm. Helena had undergone ridiculous amounts of tests, multiple doctors’ opinions, and a prescription for chemotherapy. Her sentence was terrifying—begin treatment now, or you’ll be gone in 3 months.
We had made the decision NOT to follow the doctor’s advice. Although we were optimistic about our decision to choose an unconventional therapy, we were still uncertain. As we drove, Helena confessed her fear. “What if we’re too late? Helena cried. “What if we run out of time?”
I shook my head. I don’t know.
That was when an enormous bank of clouds descended upon the subtropical rainforest. Within 30 seconds, we were enveloped in a fog so thick that we were unable to see more than 3 feet in front of the car. We slowed to a crawl, fearful that the drivers on the switchback road would hit us from behind.
Then the engine began to smoke.
Thick, black smoke was pouring out of the hood of the car, and it began to buck and rock. There wasn’t an exit in sight.
That’s when the engine cut out. Helena looked at me in a panic as the car began slowing to a stop in the middle of that treacherous road, and I silently repeated the prayer of St. Julian of Norwich:
All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
Out of the dark, an exit sign appeared. I pointed and shouted, and Helena steered the car down the ramp. The momentum pushed us into a gas station, and we rolled up to the pump. It was the only gas station within 30 kilometers.
After performing an inspection, the mechanic on duty shook his head and admitted that he couldn’t find anything wrong with the car. We thanked him, put the key in the ignition, and the car started without a hitch. As we drove out of the station—I kid you not—the sun came out.
In remembering this story today, I knew that one year ago, this event had been a gift. It was shown to me again today as a reminder that even when the path was unclear, it was our faith that held us through it all. Even in the very worst moments, we have never been alone.
People have written to tell us how much they admire our courage, and I want you to know that it’s not as easy as we make it look. We’ve been afraid, we’ve fought, we said things we never should have. I’ve learned things that I wish I didn’t have to know, but I’m grateful I do.
I’ll be honest with you—if the Mayans were right and the world ends on December 21, I won’t be disappointed. It’s hard down here. Besides, I know that after the dust settles, my sweet girl would be waiting there for me, smiling at me with that mischievous twinkle in her eye.
The truth is, I hope the Mayans were wrong. I’m counting on illumination right here and right now. I’m counting on another 60 years working it out in all of this beautiful mess. I wouldn’t change a thing.
“I choose all.”