Earlier this month, a first-time breast-cancer test for my wife found something abnormal. I've since discovered that this is increasingly common: As doctors screen earlier and the technology gets better, they are finding more and more little white spots on mammograms that lead to more testing.
We waited two very brittle weeks until the results came back: The conditions for cancer are present, but nothing is happening at the moment. She now needs to get tested every six months.
But from what I understand, the most likely outcome is that nothing at all will develop, and, even it something does, chances are high that treatment will be successful. I'm probably more likely to get hit by a car in the foreseeable future than she is to advance to the next stage.
Curiously, the main thing Olli wanted to talk about while we waited for results was whom I could find to serve as a mother to Liko and a companion to me. She paired me off with various single friends; she debated pros and cons of each match; she imagined elaborate scenarios.
This was her way of exerting control over the situation, or one aspect of it; she was creating simulacra to take care of us in her imagined absence. As you might guess, these flights of doom-laden fantasy made me seethingly uncomfortable, and yet I did find myself following her down these hypothetical paths.
For me, however, they didn't go anywhere. It is not hard to imagine Liko and me alone together; that feels as possible to me as moving to another city. But life without Olli seems inconceivable, impossible. I'm sitting in the dark typing this; it's 4:30 in the morning. I can't sleep. I don't want to.