Life with the Girls

On Ice

When she was dealing with her father’s death and her own dependency problems, becoming a mother felt increasingly out of reach for Abbe Wright. But she wasn’t about to let today’s pain get in the way of tomorrow’s plans. In this month’s “Life with the Girls,” find out how Abbe froze time for her future.line

Abbe is sober now and in a relationship

I awoke to the sound of my biological clock thudding in my ears sometime in my mid-thirties. I became aware of its steady, anxiety-inducing drumbeat slowly, groggily, as if coming out of a coma—at first, I could barely sense it and then, all of a sudden, its syncopation was all-consuming. While I hadn’t been in an actual coma, I had certainly missed a large chunk of my life.

My dad was diagnosed with cancer when I was 26. At the time, I was living in Manhattan, working at my dream job, dating a man who wasn’t entirely right for me, and partying—spending most nights mixing alcohol with a cocktail of uppers and downers, eager to achieve that perfect night-out balance of not getting too drunk, while also not remembering the morning after. I’d envisioned this big life for myself, and here I was living it—having achieved it through a blend of blind ambition and dumb luck, fueled by youthful energy and lots of booze.

But when my dad got sick, everything changed. His illness gripped him quickly and, almost immediately, it was Capital-B Bad. For four years, he was in and out of the hospital, eager to try things like a bone marrow transplant, which, while promising to extend his life, nearly killed him in the process. He achieved remission a few times, but it always came back.

I was no longer living that carefree life. I would work all week, barely able to focus, then take the 6:32 PM train to Philadelphia on Friday nights. My weekends went from day drinking with friends to sitting beside my dad’s hospital bed, encouraging him to eat something, anything. Watching a parent die slowly feels like your own death by a thousand paper cuts. You’re constantly worried that the conversation you just had will be the last, that he’ll be gone before you see him again. The fear and anxiety wrap around your throat; it’s hard to remember what life felt like before you were choked by it.