Unlike Sunday, there was no happiness this morning, only tears. Nina was furious that we had to return to the Cancer Center. She screamed like I had never heard before. I tried to redirect her to the our back porch door but she actually grabbed onto a kitchen chair and refused to let go. She screamed. I tried to convince that it was okay. She screamed. Adelae tried to convince her that it was okay. She screamed. My parents stood still, watching with the heaviest of hearts their grand-daughter's nervous breakdown. She screamed! Eventually, I had to pry her hands off the chair and carry her into the van.
As I buckled her up, she pulled my hair and scratched at my face with complete ferocity. I felt so bad for her. I completely understood why she was so angry. She wanted this nightmare to be over with. She just wanted to stay home with Addie and have a relaxing day. I so desperately wanted that for her too but it just wasn't time yet. I sat down and took a deep breath. I asked God for patience and kindness. Nina only deserved the utmost love, kindness and respect. This was her hell on earth. It was not fair!!! She deserved a mom that would not be quick to desperation but quick to plea for Heaven's strength.
She screamed the entire car ride. Poor Adelae just looked at me through the rear view mirror. Initially, the expression on her face was pure horror. I looked at her reassuringly. I didn't want Addie to be scared, at least not scared about this tantrum. Quickly, Adelae's expression of horror dissipated to a playful grin. She understood that Nina was upset but that she wasn't in any pain. She had two younger brothers. She knew well the difference between a "I'm pissed off tantrum" and a "I'm hurt tantrum". When we arrived at the Cancer Center Nina was still screaming, albeit with not as much aggression. Despite the wailing battle, Cindy walked in with the most gregarious laughter. Nina did not buy it :) She hollered even louder to which Cindy just smiled back.
Eventually, Nina looked at me and said she wanted to go to the room and "Get it over with!" I explained that her perpetual crying was the only thing preventing us from proceeding forward and that she needed to calm down. Nina looked at me with her classic stink eye and stopped crying. Where there is a will, they there is a way!
|Ham & Turkey Sandwich feast with Adelae!|
As soon as Addie and Nina had finished lunch, my parents said goodbye. It was bittersweet for them. Although their hearts had never know this kind of sadness, they also lamented not being able to spend more time with us. They didn't have to say a word...it was written in their eyes. I hugged them, wishing I could take away the pain that they felt, but also knowing that it wasn't mine to remove or carry. We are all being crushed by this tragedy and it is each of our own responsibilities to allow God to help us carry the weight.
Although Nina started off rocky (to say the least) in the morning, she had collected herself and by the time Teddy arrived from school she was a fully happy girl! Given how tired everyone was from the busy weekend, the rest of the afternoon was leisurely spent hanging out. I have come to appreciate the simplest things in life, like hanging out. Just being together is precious and sufficient. Unfortunately, it took Nina's illness for me to fully grasp this truth. After dinner, I spent some time cleaning up the kitchen and dining room. Our place was a permanent disaster and I really didn't care anymore. Then I heard the most magical and healing sound on the face of the planet...our children's laughter!
The sound of their laughter danced into the kitchen, enveloping me in a synergy of emotions that can only be described in colors. I was completely stopped in my tracks and surrounding me were hues of vibrant red, deep purple, bright orange, sunshine yellow, and heavenly blue. This was one of the strangest and most beautiful experiences I have had so far. I looked around to see if Todd was witnessing what I was but he was no where to be found. Each time Nina laughed the reds and purples leaped into the air in rapid succession. Addie's laughter was covered by oranges and yellows and radiated with happiness. Teddy, to not be outdone, was an intermittent geyser of blue.
I walked out of the kitchen only to find the there kids sitting on the living room mattress playing with the photo booth program on Teddy's new computer. I leaned against the wall, trying to camouflage myself into the wall so I could freely witness the magnificence before me. I watched for a long time before they noticed I was there. I felt a lump grow in my throat but I willed it away. I thanked God for what I was seeing....happiness!!! Even in the middle of tragedy there is happiness!!