MIA to LHR. The flight takes about 8 hours, so I had a lot of time to think about exactly how I wanted to walk into Arielle’s hospital room and to practice my “brave face.” I went over and over in my head, what I’d say and how she’d respond and what those first few minutes would be like. I wondered how I’d ever be able to hold back the tears, anger and hysteria, as I took that first look into her eyes.
It’s a rule in the “Mother’s Universal Job Description,” to at all times and under all circumstances present to your children the following qualities: strength, reassurance, optimism, resilience, fearlessness, positivity, tirelessness, bravery and a general attitude of “Kiss Ass.” Not displaying these qualities, would obviously put me in jeopardy of losing my coveted “Mother’s Badge of Courage” and this was not an option!
With every possible scenario of what I might find when I walked through the hospital room door played out in my mind (remember, I did have more than 8 hours to prepare!) I was ready. My game face was on and I was filled with an arsenal of words and positive, upbeat snippets to crush all of my child’s fears, doubts, anger, sadness and whatever else she might possibly throw at me.
I entered the elevator and pushed the button for the 6th floor. Armed and ready. While staring at the digital read out, above the doors, I began to inventory my “Mother’s Weaponry.” Big smile, check. Look of confidence, check. Tears stuffed into gut, check. Unfortunately, nothing could have prepared me for the flood of emotions felt, as I reached the 6th floor and the word “Oncology” appeared on the digital display. Fuck, fuck, fuck… Okay, just a minor a minor setback. I lost about half of my emotional weapons, but no matter…
As I rounded the corner and looked down a long dark corridor, I could see a figure at the far end. It was totally silhouetted by sunlight coming in from behind. As I moved closer the shadowed figure started to move… springing up and down and waving frantically! My first thought was, “What the hell?”
Yup, you guessed it! It was Arielle (or Tigger as she used to be known) literally bouncing up and down on her bed and waving! A bit dazed and confused, I entered the room and was further taken back to see this beautiful, young, strong, smiling woman sitting on the side of her bed eating a huge portion of a jacket potato stuffed with beans and cheese!
In the end all I could do was laugh out loud and kiss her head.