you take my breath away

Apologies for a post that is going to be personal and maybe a tad mushy! But in my defence it is probably the first one of its kind. As some of you may know, my husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes. This after a year of his being ill and every test imaginable giving no indication. The months preceding the diagnosis were difficult ones for me as I saw Ranjan fading slowly. We both kept a brave face through the visits to doctors and more doctors and the innumerable blood tests. scans and MRIs. When finally the diagnosis was confirmed my blood ran cold. Cancer was the one thing I never wanted as it had snatched both my parents from me in the span of not even 2 years, leaving me orphaned at 39! That it should once again strike the one person that was able to fill the terrible void of my parents' death was terribly unfair. I was angry and terrified at the same time. Why me again.

Being an only child of parents much older than you is not easy. Add to that a nomadic life that takes you from one corner of the world to another every three years makes it that much more difficult. You land in a country with the wrong colour of skin, an unpronounceable name that gives your peers lot of meat to bully you, is not easy. But you soldier on, make your place in the sun and when you think you have finally succeeded, you are told to pack your life again and move on. So you device coping strategies: imaginary friends, chats with yourself in front of a mirror, you master the art of reading so that you can become one of the Famous Five or Marie Curie depending what age you are. You learn to get along with adults much earlier than other kids. You try to keep up with friends through letters but soon lose them. So you learn to accept and love solitude that you manage well.

Recently I was told that not having siblings and having had a tumultuous childhood made me incapable of valuing relationships. The words hurt deeply. But life went on. I knew I had to carry on bearing my cross alone, if need be.

At first I had thought I would keep this news to myself. Ranjan told his two best friends. I had one best friend but she left us last year way before her time.

One of the many sleepless nights I have gone through, it occurred to me almost as an epiphany that I had a family, a huge one, one that I had made over the last 13 years with my soul and heart: the pwhy family. It was time to come out of the closet, in a manner of speech. I first told a few friends, then started a blog - writing is my catharsis. The response was overwhelming and moving. From all over the world came prayers, advise, messages of support, of love, hugs galore and above all words of hope. I realised I was no more alone, that there were so many I could reach out to and who were there for me.

This has made up for all the friends I never had. I feel blessed, humbled and very small.

Hey guys you take my breath away.