1. Beaver, Kathleen BSN, MSPC, RN, CHPN

Article Content

I slide stepping out of my car, the pebbles sinking into the landscape as I make my way quietly, reverently to the walkway. The air around me is soggy and bleak, chilly enough to send a shiver through your soul. The house emerges from the farmland that surrounds everything in sight.


I love the night-the noise, the smells, the feel of the air when no one is watching. I step from slate to slate over the irregularly regular path to the front door. The forlorn wreath droops. Christmas came early this year.


I take great pains to remove my shoes, wondering fleetingly if I wore clean socks. I push aside the chaos of sandals and sneakers thrown under the bench. My brown leather heels perfectly spaced, line up neatly with the edge of the tile floor. My socks are fine.


Small eyes stare at me from the dark part of the stairs. I take the hand offered, rubbing absently. Does he need my touch? Or do I need his small fingers pressed to mine. I hesitate outside the door, not wanting to intrude. The time for those thoughts is long gone. I am there for a reason I wish I could have held off. In reality, it is the correct time.


The lights aren't painful, but my eyes close involuntarily. I verify the known, stepping momentarily out of the shadows. I am an unsatisfied Baku, the Chinese dream eater-devouring hopes and dreams when nightmares aren't enough. First, we take away the nightmares, making them comfortable and safe. Then, devouring hopes and dreams as I confirm the worst.


My princess has her shimmering gown on. The ever-present tiara sewn to the hat covering wisps of hair left after the medications had their way with her. She once told me she wore the cap "because mommy is sad to see me without my hair." She is wise beyond her years.


My princess has few fears except the dark. White Christmas lights hang over her bed. Frequently snuck into the hospital, unseen by the myriad of doctors and nurses who come to visit daily. She asked if it would be dark where she was going. If it was, she wanted to take her lights with her. It became a project to find Christmas lights throughout the year for her stockpile.


We stepped outside and the moon turned away. The glow from the porch light didn't travel far. Daddy placed his only princess into her coach. The guardian of such precious treasure left the lights on over her last bed as she moved slowly down the long driveway. "It's so dark" whispered the breeze. There were things in life that couldn't be fixed.


A rumble you felt in your chest started in the darkness before the sun rose in the middle of the night. Miles of road caught the sunlight, never letting darkness fall over the princess. Silent sentries stood guard, sprinkled with white Christmas lights. Darkness fell one by one as the princess passed. We knew she would always have the light ahead of her. We would, too.