Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What kids know about goin'

(Note: about two hours and fifteen minutes after posting this story Ma answered The Call.)

I was dropping off a few boxes from Ma’s room. I didn’t want to bother anyone, so I simply set them on a big wooden chest on their back porch.

My plan was going fine until she walked out. Katherine looked at the stuff and then looked at me—her eyes held the ocean, “That’s gramma’s. Why’d you…” her lip rolled and quivered like a breaking wave.

I sat in my favorite chair on their porch, an old wooden rocker. She sat cross legged on the floor and stared at her feet.

“I’m just a kid. I’m six. But I know.

Daddy’s phone rings a lot, and sometimes he says words I prob’ly shouldn’t say. And then, when he hangs up he says, ‘I gotta go.’

Not like when I say, I gotta go, you know—to the potty. He means he gots to go to work. It don’t matter what time it is neither, when his phone rings, he gots to go. We could be eating or playing or watching a movie or reading a story—it don’t matter—when his phone rings, he's gotta go.

Last night his phone ringed. He had to go—but I don’t think it was for work.

He helps people who get in bad wrecks and he pulls the cars out of the ditch with his tow truck with pretty lights on top. He can pick up big trucks that tip over, too. He goes fishin’ sometimes—not for fish either, but for cars that fall in the lake, through the ice. He gots to go a lot—but it’s to help people out of bad trouble…so it’s ok.

It was like before, like other times. Daddy was home, daddy was tired, the phone ringed, and daddy was gone. But, his voice shaked when he said, ‘I gotta go, I love you,’ and his eyes looked wet when he kissed mommy bye-bye. And then, he bumped the door like he couldn’t find the door knob when he was trying to leave.

Yep…somethin’ was deff-na-lly different.”

She looked up at the things I’d brought. “We always go see Gramma Mary…but now, how come we can’t go no more?” She looked back at the floor and picked at a lose string on her shoe.

I told her that Gramma needed her rest.

“Daddy told me Gramma was sick. I told Daddy, ‘you can bring her home and I can make her all better.’” She paused and wiped her sleeve across her nose.

I sat back and wiped my sleeve across my eyes.

“Daddy asked me if it was ok for Gramma to go to heaven and be with Jesus. He said that would make her all better and she wouldn’t get sick no more.”

She looked at the things on the chest. It was high tide. The ocean spilled over.

“Then, I’ll only have—” her words were chopped in pieces by a quivering chin—“one gramma left.”

The ocean wave reached its crest and spilled over me too.

She pulled her knees up to her chest and folded her arms around them. “Maybe Gramma’s phone ringed. Maybe God called…and she’s gotta go, too.”

Katherine lifted her shoulders up and down, tilted her head and looked at me. “I told daddy it was ok if Gramma's gotta go. God's gonna bring her to His Home and make her all better, help her outta her bad it's ok.

Anyway, we''ll  still visit her 'cuz I know where she'll be, up on the hill, layin' next to Grandpa.”

Her mouth turned up. It was crooked; half sad, half glad, but it was a smile just the same.

That night in the nursing home, Mark told his mother about the conversation he’d had with his daughter. “Ma, Kat said it’d be ok if you go to be with Jesus. She’s going to be alright—we all are.”

We were amazed at what happened next.

Ma settled into the most comfortable sleep. We watched her face relax and my wife said, “Look, Ma looks like she’s getting younger.”

Her mouth turned up. It was crooked, half sad, half glad, but it was a smile just the same.


My brother-in-law told me about the conversation he had with his six year old daughter regarding his mother’s condition. This story is the result of that conversation.

At the time of this writing Ma is still with us but hovering near Eternity’s Door.

Thank you for your prayers, they are felt all the way from where you are to here.



HisFireFly said...

a smile just the same...

oh, this

prayers continue

S. Etole said...

Precious ... so precious.

Penny Reeves said...

My Goodness!!
That is truly an amazing story.
Thank You for sharing it. I am sorry for the loss of Mary DeVlaeminck. God's Blessings to all of you.

caryjo said...

You have poured so much of your heart into her and your family and shared so beautifully with the rest of us through your writing.

Thank you so very much.