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Friday, 18 June 2010

Eye of the Storm ~ Chapter 3

“How are you feeling these days Marian?”  The kind doctor looked from the CT scan prints to Marian Walters’ slightly pale, but beautiful face.
“I feel the same, I guess.  Getting more tired each day.”
Doctor Robertson nodded before looking over Marian’s chart.  “And the pain?  Do we need to up your meds again?”
Marian took a moment to respond.  She was very aware of her husband’s presence at her side.
Daniel studied his beloved wife’s features.  Had Marian’s pain been getting worse and she never said anything?
He chided himself for not paying more attention.
“Marian,” Daniel’s softly spoken word brought her eyes to his.  “Do you need stronger meds?”
Marian could feel Daniel’s and the doctor’s eyes on her; searching, waiting.
She gave a small nod and a quietly voiced, “Yes.”
At the pained, worried look in Daniel’s eyes she quickly added, “But I’ve been taking Ibuprofen and it helps.  It’s not a lot more pain than usual.”
The words did very little to comfort Daniel’s heart.  Why hadn’t he seen it?  He should have seen the pain in her eyes, or should have noticed that she was taking more pills.
He’d ask her later why she hadn’t said anything to him.
Doctor Robertson wrote up the prescription and yanked it off the pad.  Marian took the all-too-familiar piece of paper, before gathering her things and standing to leave.
The Doctor opened the door for them and Marian walked through first.
Just as Daniel was going to walk out of the room after his wife, Doctor Robertson laid a hand on his arm.
Daniel met his gaze.
“She loves you, Dan.”
Daniel gave a small frown.  He knew that.
A smile touched Doctor Robertson’s lips.  “That’s why she didn’t tell you.  She doesn’t want you to worry more than you already are.  She knows this is hard enough, she just doesn’t want to add to it.”
Daniel’s weary face didn’t relax with the news.  “I know,” he whispered, turning his eyes forward, out the door.
“And Daniel,” the Doctor’s voice stopped Daniel’s stride, “don’t count the days.”
Surprise widened Daniel’s eyes some.
“You’re tense, tight, the farthest thing from relaxed.  I know it’s hard to be relaxed or calm under the conditions, but Marian can tell how you feel and it makes her uncomfortable and almost scared.  How would you live, love, play, talk, act, or whatever, if it was your last day?  Figure it out and then do it.”  He paused a moment before adding, “Because hers is almost here.”

Coffee, yes!  Grace exited the gas station, coffee in hand and Cole on her hip.
The sun shone brilliantly in the nearly cloudless blue sky.
As she squinted slightly, she was glad she’d taken an extra moment inside the station to lift her sunglasses from her head and put them over her eyes.
Walking across the parking lot to her car she shivered a little as a chilly breeze blew over her.  The day was still young, quite young, in fact.  She knew it would warm up in no time.  This was Texas, after all.
Reaching her SUV she put the coffee cup on the roof of the car and then dug in her purse for the keys she’d chucked in there a few minutes before.
Finding them, she hit the unlock button on the remote before opening the back door and putting Cole in his seat.
Straightening she realized how sore she was.  From lack of sleep, from too much car time, she couldn’t tell.
Grabbing her liquid love from its spot on the roof she slid behind the wheel.
Reaching into the back, she felt around for Cole’s toy bag.  It took a few minutes to locate it before she heaved it up to rest in the passenger seat where she could easily reach it while she drove.
Turning around to look at Cole, she playfully tickled his chubby leg.  “Ready, Bear-bear?  Here we go again.”
Resituating herself in her seat, she clicked the seatbelt and cautiously made her way back out onto the highway.

“Mommy?” Molly Walters’ three-year-old voice crept around the doorframe and into the room, while her little body, and all but her eyes, stayed hidden.
Marian stirred and opened her eyes, locating her daughter’s blue eyes that shyly peaked into the room.
Marian smiled a greeting to her little girl.  “Hi, Molly, Babe.”
Molly smiled now and revealed the rest of her face from behind the wall, completely unaware of the great amount of effort and strength it took her mother to smile at and respond to her.
Truth be told, that’s how Marian wanted it.
Molly now stood in the doorway, hands clasped behind her back, her right foot rocked from one side then to the other as she lifted unsure eyes to her mother’s face.
Marian waited.
“Mama?  Are you sleeping?” was the small, almost whispered questions.
Marian smiled a weary smile, closed her eyes and laid her head back on the pillow.
Before Daniel went to work this morning he’d told the kids, especially Molly, “to let Mommy sleep when she takes a nap”, like he did every morning.
Molly’s blond-haired head had bobbed up and down, making the soft curls in her hair dance.  She tried to be a good girl, really tried.  But it was so hard for little Molly to wait until Marian woke up.  She loved her Mama dearly and wanted to spend every waking moment at her side.
It wasn’t as hard for Justice, however.  Yes, he loved his Mama just as much as Molly, but at six-years-old he wasn’t quiet as clingy.  He was becoming a big boy.
Lilly, on the other hand, was not handling this well.  Marian had had to wean her much earlier than they’d both wanted.  The first few weeks were something akin to torture.  Lilly cried for hours on end and would only take a bottle hours after she was supposed to eat.
That was four months ago.  Her sweet, little eleven-month-old Lilly was, perhaps, okay with drinking from a bottle, but the restrictions Dr. Robertson had put on Marian greatly effected Lilly, too.  Well, actually, Marian’s restrictions greatly effected every Walters family member.
Although she’d been drilled for the past four months by nurses on her restrictions and how they were changing and becoming stronger, Marian paid little attention to them.
Doctors were all overly cautious anyway, right?
Well, most doctors.  Even though Dr. Robertson had given her the restrictions, he didn’t expect Marian to follow them to the letter.  Just most of the way.
She and Dr. Robertson both knew in her situation it wouldn’t make much of a difference whether she followed them or not.
Marian pushed the thoughts aside.
“No, Baby.  Mama’s not sleeping.”
Molly’s face lit up and a second later she was scrambling up the side of the bed to snuggle with Marian.
Marian moved a pillow for her little girl and carefully wrapped an arm around her when Molly was settled.  Planting a kiss on Molly’s blond hair, Marian then laid her cheek against the top of Molly’s head.
How she loved this little girl!
Worries, fears, thoughts and uncertainties filled her mind.  Tears welled in her eyes as the different things in her head swirled around.
Two months.  For Marian, her time had been limited and she was very aware of how short it was.
Her babies needed her.  Daniel needed her.  She need them.  What would happen to them if she wasn’t here?
Maybe the doctors were wrong, maybe there actually was something that could be done.
But even as these hopefully words formed in her heart she knew they were not true.  The tests were unmistakable, they’d gotten many, many opinions from different doctors and specialists, but the results were always the same.
The tumor was very large and inoperable.  No amount of radiation or chemo would help.  The tumor did not respond to any tests, medication or treatment.  Doctors had given her six months.  Now, she was down to two.
It was inevitable, there was nothing anybody could do.
Doctors suggested that she prepare, herself and her family, for the time when she would no longer be here on this earth.
How could anyone prepare themselves, or anyone else, for their death in only six months?
At first it didn’t seem real.  Things went on like normal.  In fact, aside from a little discomfort, Marian felt fine.
Then, in the last month, things went from slowly getting worse to hitting bottom fast.
Marian was in pain nearly all the time, it was hard for her to breathe and she was getting more weary and tired each day.
When things started quickly going down hill Marian and Daniel had decided to tell Justice.  How much he really understood was hard to tell, but he took it as well and as bravely as a six-year-old could.  He tried to be brave and strong “like Daddy”, but Marian could see the fear and worry in his eyes every time she looked at him.  And on top of that, little by little Marian could feel him pulling away from her and Daniel, and it broke her heart.
Eventually they’d told a little bit to Molly.  They’d told her that Mama was very sick and didn’t feel very good.  How much could one explain to a three-year-old about cancer?
As Marian sat, snuggling with Molly, she began to question.  Not the doctors, but God.  She knew if He wanted to, that He could heal her body.  He could allow her the joy of living this life with her precious family.
Why her?  She didn’t want this.  What had she done?  Did she do something to anger God?  She would gladly undo it or take it back, if it meant her healing.
Yet, she knew God didn’t work like that.  She knew there was nothing she had or hadn’t done that could change what God had planned.  God did what He did for His glory and it was up to Marian to respond correctly and in a way that would honor Him, hurtful and painful as it may be.


  1. Oh Ana, how touching! And sad. Boy, can you make a girl cry! I'm so happy you posted the next chapter. =)

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