Some things in life are just fixed, some sorrows are so bound to happen that they become part of your life, part of you.
When you marry a man thirty years your senior, you learn a lot about that. Ada could write a book about it, she thinks many times over the past year.
They’ve had great years together, wonderful years and three children and they’ve been lucky, she knows that. Luckier than most people, regardless of age. But at the end of 4012 their luck runs out and everything changes.
Subtly, at first. Sometimes she thinks all truly life-changing things begin as subtleties in the corner of your eye, at the back of your mind rather than big blows.
Ed gets tired. For someone who’s never been very interested in rest, this is a bad sign and Ada feels it in her bones the moment he tells her he’s going to see a doctor next week. Just a routine check-up, he says, not wanting to worry her, to upset their balance. But she worries. She feels it, a knowledge like blood and breath, deeply a part of her.
The tiredness gets worse, of course. And the doctor’s appointment leads to another one and then another one followed by a whole string of them. Pretty soon they’re regulars at the hospital and Ada learns a new vocabulary, receives a new language she would much rather be ignorant of for another ten years at least.
She sits there as Ed’s doctor tells them it’s bad, that the treatment isn’t working, that it’s terminal and she stares at some diploma at the wall. What does that mean, really? A diploma. It’s nothing. It doesn’t make you able to save lives, it just makes you entitled to sit behind a desk, delivering death sentences and banal phrases that means nothing.
Ed’s dealing with it better than she does, like she’s always expected him to. He’s a strong person and strong people face death with dignity.
Even so his arms are tight around her when they walk out of the hospital and his cheek is wet against her own.
They try to live as if everything is normal because that’s what they are told. Continue with your daily life, don’t upset all of your routines, let the children carry on with their days.
So they do.
The kids hang out with their friends and Ada takes comfort in the fact that there are other things to think about besides Ed. She notices that Kirsten has made a new friend in Jonathan Ceder who spends a lot of afternoons in their home, playing with the cat and laughing with Kirsten.
Yes, the cat. Because in the middle of all the turmoil, they had decided to get a pet. Ed had insisted on it, wanted the children to have something else to think about for a while and Ada hadn’t been able to deny him that.
And somehow the new family member works as a distraction, at least for some of them, at least some of the time.
That has to be good enough.
Another thing that manages to distract Ada fairly successfully is the fact that she, right in the middle of Ed’s last and most awful treatment, realises that she’s pregnant again. They haven’t exactly been careful with those things lately and given her age and how much medications they pour into him, it’s not something you expect.
She’s terrified at first. Terrified and oddly ashamed – as if she’s done it on purpose, trying to steal the focus from her dying husband or some such thing – and devotes most of her night to online research about what they can expect from it all. Odds, birth defects, statistics and ice-cold numbers.
It tears her apart. Ever since Christopher stopped sleeping next to her in their bed, his warm little toddler-body like a furnace under her blanket, Ada has secretly dreamed of another baby. There’s very little reality connected to that dream but it’s there, all the same. The way dreams are, she supposes.
A quiet whisper, a ghost.
She can’t even bring herself to tell Ed, not at first. He’s worried enough as it is, has always worried about her and the kids and their future and this won’t help, this will do the opposite to him.
He figures it out on his own, eventually. Asks her one night when they make dinner and she has no choice but to nod, to tell him yes, she’s pregnant and no, she doesn’t know what the hell she’s going to do about it.
“I’m sorry,” she says, quietly. “For not telling you sooner. It’s…”
“It is what it is.”
That’s the way it’s always been with them ever since they met and decided to screw the odds and age difference and start a family together. She will never regret it no matter what. No matter what life throws at them now.
Before she’s had time to make a decision about the baby, she miscarries. Not a surprise at her age, not even that much of a disappointment in this situation but it’s a wound in her, regardless. She’s never had a miscarriage before, never knew how it shatters something inside you. That tiny little promise of life, all gone.
And at the same time it’s a relief. Now they can focus on what they have here and now instead of thinking about the future in any shape or form.
Right now they have each other.
* Depressing start of round is depressing. 😦 Sorry about that. I rolled for Ed’s death a long time ago so I knew it was coming but still so sad. And the pregnancy was a surprise but then it turned into one of those red motives all the time pregnancies so Ada lost it early on. She’s a family sim so she’s had a baby want since Christopher turned 1.