The middle-aged couple sits talking quietly in the midst of the beauty of a well-established French garden with sculptured stone animals, placed in appealing hideaways. The butterflies and birds feast on the succulent juices from the wide variety of flowering foliage. Blue jays sit on the fence and crows fly overhead.
Although their surroundings couldn’t be more peaceful, the couple carries a huge burden that involves one child who has been diagnosed with a deadly cancer at the age of eight, and of a healthy older brother aged ten. The couple spent all their savings and moved across the country to be close to the one hospital that is doing experimental research on the type of cancer the child has.
The couple married late in life and adopted both boys from different mothers. I search my soul for what I can say or do to help soothe their desperate situation, as they continue to quietly speak and weep.
The fog is quickly moving in from the ocean. The temperature is dropping and I ask them to come inside. While I light the few pieces of wood in the fireplace, I tuck the couple into the down-filled couch, wrap them up with woven mantas from South America and decide hot chocolate would be comforting.
I ask them where they get the strength to endure. It is Alan, the child, who is their strength, they say. They tell me that he is glad he has cancer because otherwise they would never have moved to New York. He loves his school, his friends, and their home in upstate New York. I realize then that Alan has no idea his life is hanging by a thread.
“When did you tell the boys they are adopted?” I ask.
“We haven’t told them.”
Hearing this, I’m confused and concerned.
“But why haven’t you? They look totally different and nothing like either of you.”
“The time was never right and what difference does it make now?”
I realize suddenly that they feel it is too late. I suspect the doctors have told them that no child has survived his disease. So Alan is the guinea pig, and although they will continue their quest until he says, “No more,” it no longer matters whether they tell him he has been adopted because he won’t live much longer.
The sky grows dark and the room, although warm from the fire, is filled with tragedy and doom. I close the draperies.
About Marsha Michaels
click to read Bio
click to open a comment box