Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Necessary Experience

Back in March I wrote an entry in my journal that went like this:

Tuesday seemed very normal. During swim class, Jaycie went and stayed with Grams because Papa had felt good enough to go to work. Grams took Jaycie to the park and was able to experience a taste of normalcy for a moment. Nike and I returned after swim and we had macaroni and cheese for lunch. Mom and I discussed the Bible. Jaycie went down for a nap and Nikelle and I walked over to the “Mokena park”. Nike enjoyed being “in charge” and leading me all over the park. Great Aunt Harriet and Cousin Richie brought dinner and we watched the girls run, dance, sing and squeal on the upstairs porch waiting for Papa to return home. Once Papa ate dinner, we showed the video from Nikelle’s spring musical he was unable to attend and talked a bit about how he was feeling.

It was a necessary day to experience. Reality quickly flooded in again as the doctors laid out the treatment plan on Wednesday.

Yesterday was another one of those days.

It’s been a month since Jaycie has seen my parents. Every day she asks about “Gaga and Papa”. When she asked yesterday and I told her we were going to their house to visit them, her face lit up with a huge smile. During the drive to Mokena, she asked numerous times for them. Then we pulled into their driveway. “Papa. Gaga. House.” Excitement filled the air.

When my mom opened the door, she was just as excited to see the girls as they were to see her and Papa. “Loud” does not even begin to describe the rest of our visit. Squeal after squeal. Smile after smile. Dominos were spilled all over the wood floor. Imagination turned the Dominos into telephones.

“Papa” just watched from his sofa and smiled. He looked better than he did on Sunday. I told him that. Actually, he looked really good considering. I told him that as well.

More squeals. Coloring. Juice. Playing with the dollhouse. Someone at the door. Great Aunt Harriet came once again and brought dad and mom some blueberry pie. Cousin Richie harvested some more broccoli out of dad’s garden. (It always does dad’s heart good to know people are consuming the food he enjoyed growing. He doesn’t want it to go to waste.)

Singing. Playing the piano. Moving chairs around the room. Medicine.

Oh, yeah. Medicine. Still need to remember all of this in the midst of the moment. Grams went to get Papa’s medicine to warm it up for when it needs to be administered.

J: “Papa meds?”
Me: “Right, Jaycie. That’s Papa’s medicine.”
J: “Papa sick?”
Me: “Right, Jaycie. Papa’s sick.”
J: (Working at folding her hands) “Better?”
Me: “Right, Jaycie. We ask Jesus to make Papa better.”

Back to playing. Squeal. Upstairs. Downstairs. Looking at Photo Albums. Time to get Nike to Awana. Time to meet Daddy at Grandpa and Grandma Carlson’s for some time with them. Driving away.

Nike thinks aloud, “I wonder if Grams will be outside to wave goodbye.”

My heart sinks as I know this ritual is a highlight for the girls. “Probably not, Nike. It’s cold and Grams needs to take care of Papa.”

We drive around the circle drive and I slow down just to be sure.

I smile as I see Grams come out the door and down the stairs. “Bye.” “Bye.” “Bye.” She yells as she waves her arms.

In the midst of everything, she knows the importance of this ritual to my girls.

“Bye.” “Bye.” The girls wave and squeal as we pull away.

My emotions are tangled. Ecstatic that my girls were able to have such a wonderful time with my parents. Disheartened because they are a little too educated on the battle with cancer. Grateful that my girls know who is in control and I pray.


  1. I have tears in my eyes. You are such a good example to your girls and your friends. It is so cool that you journal...I should really start.

  2. I ditto what Katie said. Thank you so much for sharing with us. It truly is such a shining example to see you not only deal with all of this, but also to have the heart to stop and enjoy the moments and see the good in those moments. Please know you are on my heart, you and your family. We're praying.