Too bad love is not a cure.

Andy sat down to dinner one night last week with ace bandages wrapped around both knees.  Tolliver had been taking care of him.  As soon an he walked in the door, Tollie asked for his badge and stethoscope and got to work.
I doctor.  I hard working in here.  I need listen to your tummy.  Your tummy have beans in it.  Your tummy hurt?  You need take medicine.  Here you go.  You feel better now?  Oh, your knee hurts?  I also fix it.
There are two small, clear medicine cups in the boys' medical kit.  After he hands Andy one, Tols always takes the other one for himself and says Doctor need medicine, too.

Tollie wasn't around when the house was full of caregivers, of women who weighed Celia and took her temperature, he did not see us work around the clock to crush pills and measure medicine.  Now there are empty vials and syringes on the coffee table and compression wraps snaking across the hardwood, but they're all just for play.

There were a few times that Celia got very sick and recovered, but we knew all along she would run out of rallies.  Tollie wasn't around for much of that.  This afternoon though, loading rocks into his dump truck outside, and out of nowhere, he asked Andy what happened to Celia's body.  We try never to speak in euphemisms, don’t step around words like dead.  Even at two Tollie seems able to sift linguistic grain from chaff, and so we try to share simple truths, help him grip the hard, unfair concept that some things leave us without our permission.  People die, we tell him, and their bodies decompose.  It's the way of things.

Uncertainty is uncomfortable and missing a sibling hurts.  It's no fun not to feel good, but moving forward through the clumsiness and the aching is important.  We acknowledge Tollie's curiosity and his concern, and remind him that his body is healthy, that his lifetime may be long.  I know, he says, a smile of understanding crossing his face, I eat carrots, I grow big! 
Above, from last fall, but new to the blog.  We were trying to compare Tols to Poppy at this age(ish) in the late 40s, below.

1 comment:

rht said...

Get those boys over here! Tell the doctor I need hugs from all of you.