I want to say you’re going to be okay.

Ben is in bed asleep, and I’m once again sitting in my car in the dark on Windy Hill, trying to imagine all the very hard things you’re all facing at the moment, pouring all my energy and love into making words in all the right order for you.

I think about you, and think back to a year ago, two years ago, three, four, even five, to a time when I can say my life was as hard as it’s ever been. When my husband didn’t want to be married to me any more, and had drunk himself into a deep, dark hole I refused to follow him down. A time when I still felt the dank, metallic shadow of cancer following me everywhere. A time when I had both divorce papers and a will kit on my desk. When I wondered which horrible thing in my life would overwhelm me, or outright kill me, first.

Oh God, I thought I’d never get through it all, really I didn’t.

But here I am, five years later, that same man who would’ve rather drank himself to death than stay married to me is the same man asleep in my bed down the hill in that little house. And the same heart that eleven years ago was being smothered by a lymphoma in my chest still beats, still burns, still blazes with life and love and lust for all of it – all that this mad, brilliant world can give me.

This is why I sit in the dark and write to you, tapping away on my iPhone with the car engine running. Because I want you to know you’re going to survive this. I want you to know others have, I have. I want you to know it won’t always be like this, and you can be okay, and will be, and life will be all right and more than tolerable – it can again be wonderful. I know this. And I want you to believe it, somehow, being hope, if you can, if you just can.

Don’t give up, sweetheart. Don’t, just don’t you dare. Do your nights, one after the other, and do what you need to do to get through. Eat good food. Don’t worry about being too fat right now. Sleep when you’re able. Stay away from the bottle and the wine glass, if you can. Read, read, read. Keep good friends close. Buy well-fitting jeans and a great swimming costume. Also, the best bed sheets you can afford. A book a month, at least. There’s your prescription, you’re welcome. Take two and call me in the morning.

I know it seems like there is no hope. Be angry if it helps, but not all the time. Be brave when you can, but you can’t always be brave, I know. It’s all right to be a pain in the ass, to cry, to tell people it’s unfair, you did your best, and be shitty and a bitch. Just not all the time. Remember how staggeringly heroic you are. Tell yourself your story so you remember what a saga this is going to turn out to be, imagine how it ends and tell yourself that story over and over. Fall in love with people and let yourself include them in a future of your imagining. Just remember it’s pretend. All this is training wheels on hope.

Oh, and forgiveness. Don’t worry about it. That can come much later. Just leave it for now.

That’s all I got for you honey, right now anyway. Just know I’m thinking of you, holding your phone there in your hand in the dark, looking for answers, begging the universe for a sign. This is it.

I know. Me too.

You’re going to be okay,

Love you.
Jo xxxx

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