I got some good, maybe unintentional, advice from a dear friend earlier this week. She was praising me for how well we are working with Dolly on preparation for her upcoming open heart surgery. In the process of doing so, she reminded me that Dolly has nine siblings that really haven’t had any preparation. As much as we’re working with Dolly to feel all her feelings about this upcoming day, I wondered how the other kids felt? I hadn’t really asked. So, tonight, after family game night, I did.
How are you all doing? Are you scared? Does anyone have any questions? Dolly got very quiet as I answered all their questions. How long will you be gone with her, mom? What would we do if this doesn’t work? How will we be a family if she needs a new heart? What are they going to do to her?
In order to better explain it, we made a life size model of Dolly.
For the older kids, I explained how a normal heart functions, and where Dolly’s doesn’t so well. ShyGuy was especially fascinated by this. He wanted to know how they would try to fix her defects. We explained. He absorbed. Mighty then asked a lot of good questions. I was surprised by that. He seemed to really be trying to understand what was happening. He wasn’t here for the last surgery, so this is a big deal for him. We reassured him. He colored for a little bit. Then he asked it. “What happen if she go to jail?” Hmmm…”why would she go to jail?” He shook his head, because that’s not what he had meant. His english is still a work in progress. “No, no she not go to jail. She die. What happen if she die?” I sat down next to him. FPD pulled Dolly closer, his eyes filling with tears. I explained our belief of heaven. She got scared. She wanted to know what it would be like, would she be alone? Where would we be? Would we be sad?
God. I held it together for her, but I wanted so badly to tell her that our life as we know it would be over, that hers would go on in perfection, but we would be devastated. We would be absolutely lost. The only thing we would have left is the thought that, someday, we would all be together again in a place far less broken than this one. Instead, I told her how strong she is. I told her she is the bravest girl I know. I told her not to worry. I asked her not to cry.
Please, please don’t cry.
I will do that for both of us.
–FullPlateMom, who wishes her sweet girl didn’t have to deal with any of this.