Mom Are You Going to Die

Casey needed to see the kids, and the kids her—the doctors said so. This was day two, all of it happening fast.

To offset the cancerous blood cell blast, only saline was going into her bloodstream rather than chemo just yet. They could not even administer proper medicine until diluting the cell blast itself, which was immediately threatening the shutdown of her organs—she would never survive medicine. Our kids, I knew, were driving by van to where we were at the Pali Momi, and I tracked them by text getting into the lot, onto an elevator, and to our floor.

There came our kids, all 9 ages of them from out of the sliding door at the end of Casey’s corridor. Not a word, not a fearing face, but pointing knowingly to where they thought their mom was probably at. We all knew quite little, especially them, except that they should come see her right away and share words and the moment.

Thinking about what to do, what to be like—those were my concerns that the kids relieved easily. They each had their thing—a smile, a statement of affection, an assuring show of courage for Casey to see, and a making room for each their siblings to squeeze into the tiny room. Especially the tinier kids were draped in PPE with a facemask too big, gloves too big, gown too big. We could not touch her, but that whole scenery of a giant family, each making room and their own gestures, and donning awkward safety-gear… well, the whole scene was surreal and we just waited for someone to say the right or needed thing.

Elijah, 6, will say it. There was Elijah coming straight through a pathway his brothers and sisters seemed to cut for him, right up to his mom. At this point it was too late; he was going to say it and no one could stop him. Deadpan voice, uninhibited by the restricting environment or anything, Elijah walked right up to Casey—a butler with no natural swing of his arms–and there delivered his business: “Mom are you going to die.”

It was straight, clean, and resolved—his question and declaration. It was directed straight into each of her eyes and behind them, into where the truth of his mom seemed to be. We all wanted him, right then, to have asked it, like the way he did it—and for someone like him to be the one to ask it—and indeed he had just done the very thing. Immediately it was like we had all asked it, and we waited to hear from Casey the answer to it, like as if now had come the chance to work on healing it or something; the danger of Casey’s science started getting married to another thing in that instance. This from braver and truer words of Elijah, 6, whose interest for his mom had no other thing tagged on to it but the business to live.

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