We weren’t careful enough, talking in front of the children. We thought they’d heard it all before – that we weren’t really sharing new information. But what they hadn’t heard before was the worry that had started to creep into our voices. The possibility that this could be the beginning of worse things to come.

Marcel noticed Maddie first, sitting on the steps with her head bent. “Are you okay?” he asked. She said nothing. I sat down to hold her and realized the fear that she was beginning to carry along with the rest of us. She wept in my arms.

Her grandfather is sick. Marcel’s dad. There’s more wrong than we at first thought when he entered the hospital a week and a half ago. A lot of it is still unknown, but none of it looks good.

Throughout the evening, any time her Pépère was mentioned, the tears welled up in Maddie’s eyes. “I’m trying to think happy thoughts,” she said, but the tears said otherwise. The rest of us are feeling a little numb – a little unsure how to feel. Her seven-year-old honesty is expressing what the rest of us are holding a little closer to our chests. We knew his health had begun to deteriorate, we knew he just wasn’t himself lately… we thought we were prepared for anything. But how can you prepare for the unknown?

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