I can't remember the last time I wanted so badly to lie. I wanted to stop the car, hold her in my arms, and tell her that I would not die, that I would always be there for her. I just wanted her to feel better, and to be reassured, and I wanted with all of my heart for it to be true.
Another example of why it is a good idea to make big decisions before the pressure hits.
I did my best to reassure her that I would probably not die soon. I talked with her about Heaven, and how we would be there together.
She was not in the mood for it. "I don't want to go to Heaven!" she cried. "I want to stay here! I don't want to move to Korea!"
|Don't they look like they're ready to move?|
Earlier this week she figured out that we would be leaving this house and not coming back. She hugged the wall, crying, and said, "I don't want to leave this house! I love this house!"
I don't even want to contemplate telling her that she will not see Grandpa and Grandma for a long time.
Later Horyon told me that Maxine had watched a video earlier in the day in which a character had died, and it seems that it connected for the first time. A separation that lasts forever. An end to something that seemed to be eternal.
I tell myself that this is actually building trust with Maxine, that she is learning to believe what I tell her. I know in my head that I am helping her, but can be hard to believe. Fortunately, it works in the short term as well. For example:
In November we all got flu shots, and Maxine did not do so well. She screamed. She kicked. A nurse had to help me hold her down while she got the shot, and it bled afterwords because her blood pressure was sky high. It hurt her arm for a few days, because we couldn't hold her completely still, even after seeing Mommy and Daddy take their shots.
Then last week we had to get her last three immunization shots. It had been two months, which is usually an eternity for Maxine, but she remembered the flu shot like it was yesterday. We didn't tell her where we were going when we got in the car, but eventually we had to. The tears started, and I started a pep talk:
I reminded Maxine why her flu shot hurt so much, and talked about how we could avoid it this time. I made her promise, multiple times, pinky promise, that she would look at me, not the nurse during the shot. We talked about the antibody game she played on PBSKids.org with Sid the Science Kid. We talked about how being healthy makes you less likely to die. We talked about silly things, and our favorite songs. And when it was time she sat on my lap and cried, but she didn't scream or kick or thrash. She did her best to look at my face during the shot, as I reminded her that she had promised to look at me. And when she found that it would be one shot in the left arm and two in the right, the tears started to seriously flow.
But she kept her eyes on mine, and soon it was over. Soon she was just sniffly, rather than outright crying. She said "thank you" to the nurse and receptionist as I carried her out. She let me carry her out, understanding that there was a reason for the pain I had put her through. And then we went to Orange Leaf and got ice cream, even though it was after 5:30 and getting close to dinner time. There were smiles and laughs, and she said that her arm hurt less than before.
Maybe trust only grows out of tears. Maybe you can't really believe in someone until you've been through some kind of hell with them. If that is the case, then this move to Korea may be an opportunity to build my family, and strengthen us.
I don't think I will be able to convince Maxine that dying is not a big deal, because it is still a big deal to me. When she asked me if I was going to die someday and I said yes, I felt okay. But when she asked if great-grandma was going to die, it was a good thing that she was in the back seat where she couldn't see my tears as I said yes, someday she would.
At this point, I am just grateful that Quinten is too young to understand what is going on. Yeah, he's going to have and inflict a miserable 24 hours on everyone within earshot, but then it will be over for him. The new faces and places will be confusing at first, but Mommy, Daddy and Maxine will be there, so he will settle down quickly. And hopefully get over the jet-lag quickly as well.