To my dearest Mother,
I know that this will be hard for you to understand at first. I beg you to be patient and not to judge me too harshly. You, of all people, know how hard these past few years have been for me. Since losing Sophie, my life has been shrouded in darkness as thick as oil, each day filled with raw despair. So desperate was I in those early weeks and months that I couldn’t see any way out of that darkness and despair, far less feel the loss of all those whose loved-ones were wiped out by that awful epidemic. The helplessness of having to watch their terrible suffering was made so much worse because I, a physician, was incapable of doing anything at all. I cannot say that I have or ever will recover from that experience and yet I must continue to live somehow, with the hole that was once filled with the light that was Sophie.
I’m rambling. But I need you to understand why I have decided to do what I have done. If my life is to hold any meaning it seems that a new beginning is necessary. This is why I have decided to apply to take part in the Haniwa space voyage. I know, you must think me mad but my mind is quite made up.
This opportunity is a rebirth for me and, for that to be possible, I must leave you all behind. Don’t be sad. Don’t mourn me. Think only of all the positive reasons why this is right for me. As a doctor, I hope to help set up the hospital there. I will be useful again and doing what I am good at.
Here on Earth, the cuts in medical funding are the reason that epidemic took hold so fast. I know Dad disagrees, but I saw the effects. This space project is receiving funding from all the countries still financially viable. Russia has pledged 300 billion alone. They need younger people to start this new world. I hate to leave you and dad, but I hope you understand how this unique opportunity is important for me. If I am accepted, I will leave at the end of the month. Do you remember how you travelled abroad when I was small ? You and Dad moved from country to country every two or three years. I lost track of where you were and even sometimes wondered if you would remember to come back for me. Boarding school was okay. I did what everyone asked of me, but it was no replacement for a family. I’m not blaming you. Dad was brilliant at his job. Pharmaceuticals were the thing then. But now? What future is there in this world where industry is dying, poverty and disease and corruption are everywhere? The collapse of Europe was the deathblow. There’s no future for the young. What I am trying to say is that you did what you felt was right. I must now do the same. I would like to have your support and blessing. Perhaps, up there, a new life is possible for me after all.
So, wish me luck with my application. You can’t imagine the excitement I feel at the prospect of being amongst those first travellers. Like the explorers before us, who knows if our names might one day grace the pages of books? How about that? Wouldn’t it be an honour to the memory of Sophie and all those who died senselessly at the hand of sickness or terrorism or poverty? It is time to start over. A new page. And to use this imperfect world as a reverse image of the next. I want to be part of that.