Years ago in college, I took an ethics class. We covered all sorts of difficult topics, and tho I recall enjoying the mental exercise, I remember little of it.
One essay stuck with me. I don't recall the author (perhaps a reader will), but the substance of the essay resonated. It described the journey of a boat as a metaphor for our journey through life. If a boat leaves on a long enough journey and encounters enough problems through the way, one could imagine needing to replace every last board, nail, and piece of machinery on it. If that boat returns to it's port of call without any piece of the original boat remaining, can you still call it the same boat?
Since that discussion, I have at some level pictured my inner self as a boat. It's not a fancy one, but wood with graceful lines, and likely evolved from some deep memories of childhood book illustrations of Noah's ark. I see my boat as starting out shiny, oiled, and polished, and by the end of my life to be weathered, splintered, and faltering.
Henry's illness has put a huge gash in my hull. I will contain the damage and continue my journey, but my boat will never be the same again. Somehow I find this comforting. His illness, no matter the outcome, will shape my future sailing.