Sunday, December 20, 2009

Can You Be With Us?

The 2nd time Alexis and I met, we talked. She asked me "Can you be with us?". But being an old man, I either didn't hear her clearly, or couldn't process the meaning so my mind translated "Can ... beach with us?"

Once I realized what she had asked me, the words jolted my heart. What had I done to earn this little girl's trust? Nothing. We had spent only a few minutes of our lives together. How did I deserve the affection of this little child? I didn't.

A few months have passed now. She'll never walk up to me again holding her hand out wanting me to count her fingers. We won't eat pretzels, clinking them together like champagne glasses. We won't roll a ball to each other again. But I still see her, and I still feel her, and I still hear her words. Those are gifts I get to keep forever. So now I try to tell myself maybe I did something to deserve the beautiful memories Alexis has given me.

Six months ago I was told Alexis existed. And that she was my step-granddaughter. And that she had Leukemia.

I remember that cold anger in my heart thinking that God had afflicted an innocent child. And cold anger knowing that God was torturing my step-son with his daughter's illness. I wanted to get into the fight. So I sent the only ammunition I could provide. $4000. What good would that do, I thought. Proabably not much.

And it didn't work. We lost the fight. Now anger remains. And Lexie's love remains. And I dream that Lexie now knows what was in my heart the moment I learned she existed. That I instinctivly wanted to save her and wanted her always to be surrounded by happiness. Maybe she knew that as she gave me the gift of "Can you be with us?"



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