If and when
I was very much taken by the stateliness of Meredith White’s memoir (“Philosophy Lessons,” March) as she took clear-prosed measure of the drama of living with an MS diagnosis. White describes how the illness forced her to reconsider her plans in life, transforming every certainty, every when, into an if.
I teach writing at Humber College in Toronto, and I tell my students that tiny words make mighty meaning. So I was very gratified to see the wee words when and if balance and unbalance the now to which our culture is always giving lip service.
Many of us know someone who has been diagnosed unexpectedly. White reminds us that we should be grateful for our little whens as we honour the ifs.