As I've mentioned before this blog has become a bit like therapy for me. Like Gidgit and Doogie Howser, I feel better when I put it into words. Thus...
Wednesday was a really bad day. It started bad, perked up a bit in the middle, and ending in an astonishingly awful way. But it proved it's point: even at her worst, Bear has an amazingly big heart and I love her.
Andrew's Aunt Linda was given bad news in August. Suspicious spots on her liver, possibly a new cancer, possibly a metastasis from her breast cancer years ago. We'd have to wait for the biopsy. Two weeks later the bad news got worse. The spots on her liver were indeed metastasis, but not from her history of breast cancer. She was diagnosed with primary pancreatic cancer that had already spread to her liver and possibly her bones. With chemo she had a few months. Then came the strokes that left her unable to eat or speak but awake and alert enough to be afraid. She lost her battle Wednesday morning.
Linda and her husband Denny were amongst the first of Andrew's relatives that I met and easily two of my favorites. They were warm and inviting from the very beginning - letting us stay with them every time we made the trek to the northwest corner of Pennsylvania. The first time we spent the weekend Andrew looked at me and said, "Can't you just see this family room full of our kids on Christmas morning?" I could. Their front porch was the perfect size for the padded wicker furniture it held. Even in winter the porch called out to you first thing in the morning, "Come, sit and sip hot chocolate." Staying with Denny and Linda wasn't just a convenience, it was part of the vacation. I will miss her more than I can possibly express.
Bear noticed my tears and asked if I missed Daddy, who happened to be on a business trip in Albany when his mom called with the bad news. Not waiting for my answer, she wrapped her little arms around my legs and squeezed, telling me that it was OK, Daddy would be home soon.
I pulled myself together and packed our bag for the day. A fully stocked diaper bag for Tadpole, lunch for Bear and I, Bear's appointment "ticket" for the dentist, and her swim bag. After another amazing trip to the dentist (awarded with a Hello Kitty skirt and top this time) and a very productive swim class we were back at home.
Tadpole was running low on Orajel and Bear was running high on energy so I suggested we take a walk to the convenience store down the road. I put Tadpole in the Baby Bjorn and a leash on Samantha, Bear put her teddy bear in her pink Build-A-Bear Baby Bjorn and we were all on our way. We were almost there when I heard a high pitched bark. Without any warning at all, a little Boston Terrier darted across the street yapping at Samantha. The next few seconds passed in freeze frame slow motion. A blue green car, a yelp, the spinning of tires, a loud crunch and the little doggy lying in a heap, practically at our feet. It was the most horrifying thing I have ever seen and if I live to be 100 I will never forget it. Bear, barely four years old, witnessed the whole thing.
She was sobbing as we tried to find the dogs owner. A 12-year old boy with a leash in his hands appeared from behind the house. He crossed the street and scooped up the dog. Then he brought him to his front step and dropped him. It was gut wrenching. I don't know if he dropped him in anger, or disgust, or if he thought he might land on his feet and run inside but I get a pit in my stomach thinking about it. I decided to get the Orajel later and took Bear to sit on a friends porch. I knew she was still at work but we needed a second and she lived nearby. Bear asked a million questions I wish I had answers to... Why? Why did that doggie run into the road? Why didn't that car stop? Why is that boy sad? Are they going to take him to the animal hospital and fix him? Did the doggie die?
I decided to be honest with her. The doggie ran into the street because he was excited and he forgot to look both ways and wait for his owner. The car just couldn't stop fast enough. And the boy is sad because his doggie died. I told her that they couldn't take him to the animal hospital. That even the hospital can't fix it when someone gets squished by a car. She cried off and on the entire way home, telling me that she was very upset and sad.
When we got home, she immediately got out her art supplies and asked for a piece of plain white paper. Then she asked me how to spell sorry. She made that little boy a card. Drew him pictures to make him feel better. Then she spelled her name and the two other words she knows - mom and dad. She told me she wanted to bring the card to the little boy to make him smile but first she wanted to go to the store and get him some flowers. Today after work, that is exactly what we did. She picked a small violet plant and had the sales lady wrap light and dark pink ribbon around the pot. Then she helped me deliver it. She may be four and stubborn and overwhelming at times, but my daughter has a heart bigger than Texas and I love her.