“What kind of hospital is this?”

Both girls asked me when we pulled up to the hospice.
“It’s not a hospital. It’s called a hospice.”
“You said we were going to go to the hospital. This is a house.”
 “A hospital is a place to go when you are sick and where you go when you know doctors can make your body better. This is place where doctors can’t do anything more except make you more comfortable and where families can be together and celebrate the person that is sick. They make it like a house so people feel they can come anytime to be with their loved ones.”
KitKat’s eyes got big and she just stared. Izzy’s face was broken. I just changed their entire lives.
“What do you mean, Mama? What does this mean?”
 “This is a place where people go to die because nothing else can be done.” Between me saying this, Izzy kept saying no over and over.
“You mean Dada is dying? He will die? This can’t be happening. Titi C and Titi H won’t have their little brother anymore and that is just so sad. Why is this happening? This can’t be happening. I am just so mad. I am angry and this is not ok.” Izzy was pounding her fist. She yelled this over and over. She pounded her fists so hard. I let her.
“Yes, you are angry and you have every right to be! You are sad and I understand and I love you. I am so proud of you for saying what you need to say and letting it out. Be sad! Get angry! This is what we do and this is ok!”
 I told them it wasn’t her fault or KitKat’s. I told them this wasn’t mine or even Dada’s. It was cancer’s fault.
“You won’t get married, I don’t want a stepfather”  I told her I wasn’t thinking about that and Dada would always be her father. 
“I don’t want to see him” Izzy said.
“I understand you are scared. He is waiting for you and KitKat. He wants to be with you. He is still Dada. We just have to go to him and give him our love. We have to make every minute count.”
When we entered the room, KitKat went over to John and in her 4 year old way of soaking all this in, she walked right up to him and said “Dada, you are going to die and we are sad.”   Oh boy, luckily, he was too busy to hear and too “out of it” to understand.
 For the first few minutes, Izzy didn’t go near John. She was frozen in fear, studying him and keeping her arms closed into her body but she saw something. She remembers this is her father. Her Dada and soon she was talking and laughing. She made her way over to her father and loved him…just like always.
I wrote the night John was in the hospice. I needed to post it here because this is our story.
I am still processing their reaction to their father’s death. I guess I will wait to write and post that another time. I don’t know which conversation was worse. Both give me nightmares.

2 thoughts on ““What kind of hospital is this?””

  1. Please keep writing your stories. I think having them for your girls later will be so important. I can’t say I ‘love’ reading them, because they speak of such pain. But they are beautiful stories too. And you tell them so honestly and eloquently. I’m proud of you.


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