Someone knocked on the door. "Come in." Tony looked up from his writing, expecting to be interrupted. Minutes after, no one came in. Absorbed in his work, he resumed his writing, giving full attention to the task at hand. About fifteen minutes later, the knock came again. He paused, whoever it was got his full attention this time.
"Who is that?" He was greeted by silence. "Who is at the door?" Silence. He stood up and smiled, expecting to find Bella crouched by the door waiting for him to carry her on his shoulder.
He walked to the door, opened it and was surprised to find his two older children from his first wife, Philip and Carol descending the stairs in a hurry.
"Philip? Carol? Were you ones who knocked on my office door?"
They exchanged nervous glances and fidgeted with their hands.
"Yes Dad," Carol answered, the younger and most outspoken of the two.
"Then why didn’t you come in? I guess you both wanted to see me about something?"
He narrowed his eyes and watched as they communicated wordlessly with each other.
"We changed our minds, dad." Philip replied.
"No, that will not be fair on me. You guys came here to talk to me about something, then you suddenly changed your minds, for no reason. I thought we used to tell each other everything and hold nothing back."
They exchanged looks, nodded at each other and faced their father.
"We want to talk about mother……" Carol started.
"Not in the corridor, let's go back into the office where we can have a round table conference." He tried to bring smiles out of their faces, but they refused to respond to their father's humor, as they stared ahead with stony faces.
There was an uncomfortable silence, as each took a seat in the office formal setting.
''Go ahead Carol, I am all ears."
''Is mother going to die?" She asked as a matter of factly, not mincing words.
Startled, Tony stared at his kids, temporarily lost of words."
"Dad, is she going to die, just like mum?" Philip cuts in while he was trying put his mumbled thoughts together.
Oh Lord, how will I answer them? Please help me through this. He took a deep breath and smiled "Why did you think your mother is going to die?"
"Dad, don't treat us like babies. I know mother is sick, very sick, just like the way mum was before she died." Philip bursts out, tears already gathered in his eyes as he stomped his feet on the floor in frustration.
"Dad, I don't want mother to die. Please, don't allow her to die. Who will take care of us if she dies….? Carol sobbed.
Broken to see the trauma Sharon's illness had caused on the children, Tony went on his knees and enclosed them in his arms. Oh Lord, help us through this. What do I tell these innocent children? How do I explain to them that their mother is dying, just a few years after they lost their biological mum to the same illness? Will they survive this? Won't this mar their faith in you? Won't they see you as the invisible being who snuffs life out of mothers and watch them die?
Help me Lord, help us through this.
''Have I ever lied to you Philip? Carol?"
"No dad." They chorused.
"Good. I want you to listen to me carefully. Bad things happen to even good people and when they do, we should trust God and believe that he knows the best. Afterwards he is God and no one can question him…….."
"Then God must be wicked if he finds pleasure in allowing mums to die. Can't we plead with him to let mother stay with us. My Sunday school teacher told us the story of how Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead. There is still hope for her, isn't it?" Carol interrupted, her eyes wide in consternation.
''At least mother is still alive, so Jesus has less work to do." Phillip added.
Tony growled within.
"Daddies sometimes do not have the answers to every question, but I can assure you that no matter what happens," he paused and swallowed his breadth. "No matter what happens, God is still good, loving, powerful, and wonderful."
"I hope so dad, I hope that by some stroke of luck, mother's life will be spared. I hope God will show his goodness and love like you said by healing and restoring her health." Philip replied, arms akimbo with a stubborn set of his chin.
"Do you believe when I tell you that all will be well with us no matter what happens?"
"Yes dad." They chorused.
"Great. I want to assure you both that daddy will always be there for you."
As they lurked their hands around him, he knew that the matter was far from being closed; it has only been postponed to another time in the future.