By: Dawn DeBraal
Little Timmy coughed. He lay in his bed staring at his crutches against the wall. So weak he was born with a bad heart, a bum ticker. Timmy was only nine years old and his heart was tanking.
"Timmy, it's bedtime," his mother called from the kitchen. How ironic, he thought, having been in bed all damn day.
"Ok, mom. Timmy reached over and turned off the light watching the snowfall in the light of the full moon. It was like being inside a snow globe. He said his prayers and his Christmas wish, both being the same.
"Please, Jesus, please Santa, bring me a new heart soon, or let me die," he coughed some more, taking a sip of water. Sighing, Timmy turned on his side and waited to fall asleep. For a short time, he was able to leave his pitiful life behind, dreaming of being a pilot flying a fighter jet, riding a horse through a field, or dunking the basketball tournament's winning basket. He dreamed he could run like the wind. All these things were possible, only in his imagination.
When his mother came in the next morning, she helped him get to the bathroom on his crutches. His legs could no longer carry him very far. And then, it was back to bed. The effort Timmy needed to expend walking from his bed to the bathroom and back tuckered him out so.
"There, there, Timmy. Here, let mommy put some oxygen on for you and make things easier." She placed the cannula across his face and turned on the oxygen. Even though the air was being forced up his nose, it was still hard for him to breathe.
"I have good news for you, Timmy. Nana and Papa are coming for Christmas this year, isn't that nice?" Timmy nodded yes as he struggled for breath. Right now, he didn't give a shit about Nana and Papa. He only cared about unloading the ton of bricks on his chest.
"You'll feel better in a few minutes, I promise," his mother told him. "Let's read your favorite book," his mother read him a Christmas story to take his mind off his struggling to breathe. He felt like he was underwater and couldn't come up. Soon he would feel some relief. Timmy knew by the time his mother finished reading the story, things would feel much better. He longed for the story's ending.
The pills kicked in; his body had been still long enough for Timmy's heart to keep up the bare minimum effort it gave to maintain his life. Relief, at last.
Another day disappeared as he watched the clock count the hours he was confined to bed. His mother bid him good night. Timmy prayed again for Jesus and Santa to bring him a heart or to let him die.
On Christmas eve, Timmy's grandparents arrived. Grandpa Bert and Grandma Sal came into his room with bright smiles on their faces. Timmy knew they were hiding their sadness, but not very well.
On Christmas morning, his mother set Timmy up with his oxygen after the morning trip to the bathroom. Grandpa Bert offered to read to his grandson this morning, pulling out a new book.
Timmy struggled to catch his breath as his grandfather read the story hoping for relief soon. Papa Bert was a good reader, making the story exciting. Timmy's eyes were getting heavier and heavier. Soon, he fell asleep.
Papa cleared his throat, he put the book down. His poor grandson, what kind of existence was this? Daily, confined to bed unable to move. Everything was an effort that brought struggle to Timmy. He'd only been there less than twenty-four hours, and he couldn't take it. How did his daughter do this alone?
Then Papa Bert pulled the tobacco pouch out of his breast pocket, packing his signature corncob pipe. When he lit the flame to the tobacco, he answered Timmy's Christmas wish and prayers at the same time.