Friday, October 22, 2010

"Unca D, why is dewre cancewr in my Gwamma Bevvie's tummy?"

Geez.  Nobody prepares you for these questions.  Nobody tells you that you're going to have to answer innocent and crazily complicated questions.  Nobody says you're going to have to search for theological answers that most pastors might stumble over.

It reminds me a little of the time that I asked my mom if my neighbor's cat, Spooky, who had just been put to sleep, was going to be in heaven.  Spooky was an indoor/outdoor cat, and I spent a lot of time with him.  He was, in a lot of ways, my best friend.  I was devastated by his death, even though I knew he was old and sick.  My mother didn't know what to say.  My question totally flummoxed her.  But I have a feeling I'll use her answer when we face the death of one of our cats and the kids want to know: "Honey, God says that everything we need will be in heaven.  So if you need Spooky to be there, he will be."

My mother-in-law called this morning.  We knew that doctors had run a scope and found a polyp in her stomach about a month before.  They biopsied the polyp and it came back benign.  However, doctors wanted to remove it anyway.  Now they're saying it's cancerous.

This was not how we'd wanted to start our morning.  I came downstairs to find Hubby on the phone with his mom.  It took me a bit to realize who he was talking to, and what he was hearing.  But when I felt like a blow to my stomach.

I am very blessed.  My mother-in-law is a wonderful woman.  I love her dearly.  I never wanted to be one of those people who had mother-in-law horror stories.  My mother-in-law considers me her daughter, not her daughter-in-law.  Her very first words to me still ring true: "We believe in hugs here."  She loves my girls like they're biologically ours.  It doesn't matter to her that they're not.  They are her grandchildren as far as she's concerned.  And I'm sure not ready to lose her.  (We lost my father-in-law eleven years ago.  I still miss him.  Wasn't ready to lose him, either.)

So, when Hubby got off the phone with Mom and knelt on the kitchen floor at one of the chairs to pray, the twins came over in turn to see what was wrong.

Medium Fry, who is her unca's buddy, wanted to know what was wrong.  Unca D doesn't always kneel on the floor and look devastated.  Hubby explained that his mom, Gramma Bevvie, was sick.  And he was scared.  And he was talking to God about it, asking Him to help Gramma Bevvie to get better so she won't be sick.  Medium Fry gave him a hug, and wandered over to play.

How do you explain cancer and death to children who aren't even four?

Next came Small Fry.  She wanted to know what was wrong, too.  Hubby explained that Gramma Bevvie is sick.  Small Fry wanted to know what kind of sick.  Hubby explained that the doctors found something called cancer in Gramma Bevvie's tummy, and it could make her very sick, and we don't want that.  We want her to be well.

And that's when Small Fry asked her question.  "Why is dewre cancewr in my Gwamma Bevvie's tummy?"

How do you answer that?

I'm glad it was Hubby who had to.

I don't know that I could've given a coherent response.

Hubby explained that it was a type of sickness, and the doctors wanted to fix it and make Gramma Bevvie all better.

If only that was the last tough question of the morning.

A little while ago, Medium looked at Hubby and said, "Unca D, why aren't you my daddy?"


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