Thank God we can’t see the future. Seriously, thank God. I am so grateful that until Feb. 1, I had no idea what was going to happen to Mikey, and to this family. So grateful that I didn’t see us huddled in that damnable ICU waiting room, didn’t see us taking turns getting suited and masked to go in and tell him goodbye. Can you imagine looking into the future and seeing something like that?

We really have no idea what will happen. In our minds, the future is a gap we can fill with hope or fear, or both. I’ve always filled mine with sounds and images of all the worst possibilities. There is hope in there too, but fear is so much stronger. I suppose because I can envision the worst much more easily than I can envision the best. It’s not about pessimism or laziness — it’s just a mental habit, and in my high-anxiety family I come by it honestly. I’ve never learned how to be cautious without being paranoid.

If I could have seen ahead last December and January, that would have meant weeks of paralyzing, consuming fear. Thank God I couldn’t see it.