Little kindness

I still choose to get up each day and smile fiercely at the sun. Sure, maybe sometimes that smile looks more like a grimace of pain. Yet despite trisomy 18, despite grief of unimaginable magnitude, despite leukemia, despite Alzheimers, dementia, and mental illness, I choose to dig in my garden, to read books, to write, to cherish my children, the living and the dead, to kiss my husband, and to keep striving towards … whatever it is we strive towards—maybe just being a better person in the world. Maybe just spreading compassion and love.

It begins with a magnolia leaf—smooth, shiny, and deep green.

“Are you telling me that she has leukemia?” I manage to gasp out.

“I’m so sorry,” her voice strained, “but I want you to take her to the hospital today. I’m hoping this is just a mix-up, some lab error. We need to recheck it to be sure.” 

Home euthanasia in a pandemic

I hear stirring on the deck. Matthew is carefully lifting Rose up, wrapped in her blankets. He brings her to the car and lays her on the gurney. Normally, I would help, but COVID renders me useless. Resting a hand on Roses’s head, he says to me without turning, “you’re an angel.”

For the briefest second, I entertain saying “tell my kids that.” Angel is not a word I think I’ve EVER been called, not in 41 years. I am many things, but angelic is not one of them. Still, I am honored that they see me as such.

Let’s be candid for a moment

It’s ok that I’m not perfectly patient and understanding and sympathetic every minute. Even if Hazel does have cancer. It’s ok that I’m angry on the inside and stressed and didn’t want to play Go Fish. It’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok.