All the pain, still feels like it’s slowly killing me…even two months later. My days feel dull and clouded, like some kind of imminent doom is lurking around the corner…hell, maybe it’s hanging right above my head, waiting to dump on me. Now I know how Eeyore feels, with that dark rain cloud floating above his head, following him everywhere. So yeah…my days aren’t getting any brighter, and time sure doesn’t seem to be doing its job, of healing my wounds. My days are flying by, yet the minutes drag on, endlessly.
Leighanne has been moved to some hospital, out in Georgia. I’ve got not clue what the name of the place is, but I have the directions memorized, like the old Backstreet songs that I’ve been singing constantly for countless years. I have been a regular visitor, but not really for her…it’s more for my little buddy. I try to be there, as much as I can, to try and help Baylee through this. Maybe it’s foolish, of me, since he has so much family. To me, though, it doesn’t really seem like the family is taking time to really help Baylee. They feed him lines, like the ones I mentioned before, and try to comfort him, but I’ve never seen them just sit, and cry, with him. None of them have just sat down and listened, letting him talk about his own feelings and pain. Isn’t it bad for anyone to bottle their emotions? I think that rule should be applied double time, for a little guy like Bay.
So today, we went for a walk, just to get out of the white walled room and get some fresh air. Baylee’s hand was firmly secured, in mine, as we roamed aimlessly, around the hospital’s grounds. We talked about everything from the chirping birds…to what the clouds looked like…to why the sun is yellow. It was only after an hour of walking, and talking about pointless subjects, that Baylee finally turned the conversation, to his mother.
“I’m scared, Uncle Nick. What if momma doesn’t get better?” Ouch! What a way to kick it off, huh? I can’t blame him for asking, since I’m sure it’s a burning question, that’s been on his mind continuously. Looking down, into his eyes, all I could see was an innocent and wonderful little boy that really didn’t deserve to be put through any of this. Then again, I guess no one really deserves it, right?
“Well, Baylee, we have to keep hoping and praying that she does get better.” Did I just say the same thing as everyone else has? Yes. Guilty. Great. Come on…I had to do better than this! “But…I’m not sure what will happen if she doesn’t, buddy. She might have to go to heaven with your dad. It’s ok to be scared, Baylee.”
“I don’t want my momma to go to heaven! I want momma here with me!” His big blue eyes looked up at me, with such a wide combination of emotions. “What will happen to me?” I can’t deny that I had to fight a smile, on this question because it was such an easy answer!
“Oh Bay! You’ll probably go live with your grandma and grandpa…or maybe Uncle Harold. You still have a lot of family that loves you and will take super good care of you.” I gave him a small smile, proud of myself for finally knowing the answer to something! That’s definitely the worst part about this whole situation…Baylee has so many questions about what’s going on, and 95% of them don’t have easy, clear cut answers.
“Oh.” The tone, of his voice, told me that he wasn’t too thrilled with that idea. I didn’t have time to question it, since he spoke right back up. “Will I still get to go see other places with you? Or…or…will you and Uncle Alex, and Uncle Howie, and Uncle Kevin stop singing?”
“You know what Bay…” I knelt down, to his level, taking his hands in mine and looking into his eyes. “…I have no idea what’s going to happen. Only God knows that. But I promise you…no matter what happens…I will still take you to fun places. I’ll even shake on it!” This was, in no way a lie. It didn’t matter what happened…Baylee would always be my little buddy, and I can’t even imagine a time where I wouldn’t want to do things with him, or take him places.
“Really? You promise?” His eyes were wide, as he looked at me intently. Deep in those blue eyes, I could see a tiny glimmer of hope, or joy, or something…whatever it technically was…it was a good thing. Then he narrowed his eyes, at me…it was like he was trying to stare me down. “You gonna super secret shake on it?”
“You bet Bay!” I nodded and stood up, so we could do our special little handshake. It was a year, or so, ago when we made it up. It was pretty simple and not all that secret, but it was our little thing. So we squared our shoulders…high fived…bumped hips…’dusted’ our shoulders…high fived the other hands…then crossed our wrists, shaking each other’s hands.
“You can’t break your promise now, Uncle Nick!” He was giving me his very best warning look, and I couldn’t stop the small grin that it brought to my lips. Anyone who thinks Baylee is irresistible in pictures…doesn’t even know the half of it!
“I wouldn’t even want to Baylee. You’re my best little buddy…you know that.” Slinging my arm over his shoulders, I led him to a shade tree that was surrounded by nice green grass. We sat next to each other, leaning against the tree trunk and stretched our legs out, in the grass.
“Nick?” When I looked at him, he was staring at his hands. His fingers fiddled with each other, and I knew the next question wasn’t going to be as easy, as the last. “I miss my dad. I don’t like my momma being sick. And my heart hurts. When is my heart gonna feel better?” Uh oh. How in the hell am I supposed to answer that, when I’ve been asking myself the same damn question?
“Baylee…” I took in a long deep breath, letting it puff out, before I continued. “I’m not going to lie to you. You will always miss your dad. That will never go away. It will always hurt, too. But it won’t always hurt this bad. No one can ever replace your dad…he was very special…and the only dad you’ll ever have…so your heart is supposed to hurt right now. I don’t really know how to explain it to you Baylee, because my heart hurts too. I feel like the pain is never going to go away, but it will get better…it just takes a lot of time…it doesn’t just get better because you want it to.”
“How long before it gets better?” Oh boy. This is what I get for trying to be the strength, for an eight year old to lean on: hard questions that I can’t answer.
“I can’t answer that question, because I don’t know. I really wish I did know. I want my heart to feel better, too.” Whoever says ‘honestly it the best policy’ better be right, damn it! “I guess we have to help each other feel better. When I talk to you, I feel a little better.”
“I feel a little better, when I talk to you, too.” His eyes lifted up, to meet mine. All I could think about, in that very moment, was hugging him. So, I did. It was a short hug, but when your heart hurts, every hug is a good hug. “Can we be ‘feel better buddies’? You make me feel better than anyone else does.” Don’t ask me how I knew exactly what he meant…I just did. Maybe Baylee and I had a stronger connection than I originally thought.
“Come on now. You don’t even have to ask me that. We’re already ‘feel better buddies’. We talk all the time, right? And…I won’t tell anyone that you cry, sometimes…if you don’t tell anyone that I cry like a little baby!”
“It’s a deal!” Hey, he might be only eight…but he is a male, and he doesn’t like a lot of people knowing he cries! Besides, that little comment was enough to bring a tiny grin, to his face. I definitely needed to work on getting his smile back and his goofiness, too.
“You know what? How about you ask to spend the night with me, at the hotel? They have a huge pool…and a game room…and a basketball court! We can play until we pass out…eat junk food and pizza…and forget about our hearts hurting, for a little while. What do you say?” That did it! Oh yeah…I got game, baby! His face lit up and a smile crossed his lips, as he jumped up. Grabbing my hand, he pulled me back towards the building. I had a good feeling that they wouldn’t object to him coming.
Hopefully the night would be helpful…for both of us.