By Lorry Myers
She was born on her grandfather’s birthday so the two always shared a connective bond. Instinctively, my little daughter knew that something was wrong with Grandpa so we decided the best way to tell her was just to tell her.
Her grandfather’s heart was broken.
It had to be fixed, that was all there was to it. We tried to answer Hilary’s questions simply but she was always wanting more. Open-heart surgery is just how it sounds and it doesn’t sound very good, especially when you say it out loud. This child wanted to know how a doctor would get from the outside in? What would it take, which path would they go, to reach that beating heart? And when it was fixed, would it be put back the way it had always been?
The day before surgery, Hilary was allowed to visit her grandfather. She sat on his hospital bed patting his hand and smoothing his sheets, her face clouded with apprehension. All that day this child worried and then worried into the night. Hilary said she hoped Grandpa’s doctor was smart and had studied hard in school. Hoped he got a good night’s sleep and had a good breakfast in the morning.
Hilary hoped the doctor knew that her grandfather was a very great man.
Before she went to bed, Hilary brought her dad a note that she had practiced many times. It was written on her Big Chief tablet, then folded and taped like a sealed envelope. For her return address, Hilary had colored a red heart and where the postage stamp goes, one had been drawn in. The writing was newly cursive, still big and still uncertain, and even though there was no delivery address, it was clear whom the letter was for.
There was no doubt at all.
For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.