At 8 a.m., I got to see Abi again. She was puffed-up like a ball with all the drugs that were keeping her stable and pain-free. They had her hooked up to all sorts of medical equipment. To see her like that was difficult. During that first day, she didn’t once wake up.

The next night I received a phone call from a nurse: “Abi has asked for you,” she told me. Up to that point, I was still coping with the fear of the unknown. Would Abi talk again? Walk again? Laugh again? But here she was asking for me! One fear fell away right there; she was coming back to us. Abi managed a faint smile as I walked into the ward. “I love you, darling,” I told her, squeezing her hand.

Later that night, sat by Abi’s bed, keeping vigil, I was feeling very low. I was crying. The doctor on duty stopped by and smiled at me kindly. “Your daughter’s done well, Mr. Langston,” she said, reassuringly. “Thank you,” I told her, but then I lost it completely and broke down. “Why her?” I sobbed. The doctor thought for a while, before replying: “Rather than pondering ‘why?’, you are better focusing on Abi’s well-being,” she told me. “You will probably never find the cause of Abi’s illness,” she continued. “Perhaps the only reason ‘why?’ is that you are a man that can cope.” Although, at the time, it didn’t feel like I could.

A few months later I told that story to a friend. “I don’t believe there are any reasons ‘why’,” she said to me. “Abi’s illness is purely random,” she continued. “You should not blame yourself or wonder if there was anything you could have done differently. Maybe one day, with increased awareness and more research, you’ll find out ‘why?’. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.” She paused for a while, to judge the impact of her words. I was listening intently, so she continued: "Focus on the here and now and Abi’s good health. Looking back and wondering ‘why?’ will not help you. Or her’.

Both the doctor and my friend were right, of course.

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