“It’s your fault she still hurts!”
Sarah shouts as she blames me for not seeing things her way.
“She is catching some sleep. Try not to wake her up.” I warn softly as I continue washing utensils Ursula and I had used for lunch.
“If only you had little faith Jeremy, things could be different.” She places The Holy Bible on the kitchen table, then makes a calculated pause. “Do you know what today’s service was about?”
I don’t know and I wouldn’t want to know, but she will tell me anyway.
“Hebrews Chapter 11.” She flips the pages of the Bible, “It’s all about faith. It’s the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, do you think God is punishing you for your lack of faith?”
How am I to know that? If he is punishing me, don’t you think he is punishing you too?
Ignoring her, I focus on the kitchen table as I muse over the ripples of water splashing on my face. One time, Ursula woke up at 6:00 am to find Sarah on her knees, eyes closed, and hands raised to the ceiling, chanting in prayers incessantly calling Ursula’s name.
“Daddy, what’s wrong with mommy?” Ursula had made her way to my room.
“Mommy wants what is best for you.” I told her as I petted her back to sleep.
“She scares me sometimes.”
Sarah had changed a lot. She rarely ate food, she called it fasting. I wondered how genuine starvation could be called fasting. Everything I used to do for her have been replaced by the things I do for Ursula, and everything she used to do for me have been replaced by the things she does for the church.
“Jeremy!!!” she perturbs my thinking, “your problem is that you never listen”
“And your problem is that you pray too much!”
“Jeremy, she needs God as much as she needs the treatment”
“Sarah, just go to your room and pray, do whatever you want, but do not wake Ursula up, she needs the rest”
I stormed out to dispose of the garbage can, silencing the thought that Sarah will do the one thing I explicitly asked her not to do. She was going to wake her up. She was not supposed to wake her up. She was to keep her voice down.
“Daddy...” It began faintly. And for a moment I hoped that it was just in my head.
“Daddy…” it went again this time clearer, “daddy, no I want daddy… get away from me!”
Sarah had already gone to her room to check on her, which was great.
“No, I don’t want to. I want daddy.” Ursula was crying. “Daddy... Where is daddy?”
It was going to get out of control, so I went back into her room and found Sarah beside her bed trying to hold her while she was trying to fight off her arms, and this must have hurt Sarah, but she never gave up trying to hold her daughter. She screamed while kicking her legs, pushing her Mommy away.
“Leave me alone.”
Her mommy says, please, but she keeps fighting. Crying.
“It hurts mommy.”
When I should be the one to ease her pain, I stood there motionlessly not knowing what to do. When she saw me at the edge of the bed, she jotted up and sprung herself into my embrace.
She wrapped herself around me. I held her, pressing her head on my neck.
“Daddy, make it stop.” She pleaded. “Daddy please”
I felt leukemia seeping from her bones into mine as her innocent tears fell off my neck.
“Daddy. Make it stop. It hurts.” She cries. “Mommy, please make it stop. It hurts.”
Sarah stared at me and saw how strong I was pretending to be, and when my eyes met with hers, our tears fell at the same time.
“Daddy…” she sobbed silently
“It’s going to be okay honey” I stroked her back.
Sarah gripped her hands on The Holy Bible and closed her eyes, I closed mine too. She broke into a soft prayer as I pressed Ursula in my embrace. Hoping, that her prayers would be answered. Hoping that the pain of my nine year old daughter, who was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago, would be eased.
As she prayed, I felt Ursula’s tears dry on her cheeks and her breath fading away from my neck.
Written by Phill Ibsen, The Master of Descriptions.