Saturday, July 6, 2019
This is How You Eat Watermelon
This is how you eat watermelon.
Fully committed, no regrets, all in.
Daniel was three and had just been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a malignant tumor in the left side of his neck. He'd had surgeries and a double-lumen catheter surgically-implanted in his body. His hair was going to come out, hence, the bowl-hair-cut, just to tidy it up until the inevitable happened.
Eight months later, he would die. His fun-loving and intelligent brain would suffer due to not enough oxygen. An infection was the culprit. That was the beginning of the end. The cancer wouldn't kill him; the treatments to get rid of it would.
But on this day in early June 1996, Daniel was happy. He was discharged from the hospital and there was watermelon waiting at home. He and his big sister sat on the driveway with their slices. Rachel picked hers up and took small bites. But not Daniel. He planted his face into his slice. Juice dripping down his chin, his cheeks, his neck.
Because that is who Daniel was. Full-throttle, energetic, silly, fun, not afraid to try something new. Enjoying our laughter.
In the twenty-two years since he has been gone, I've become extra fond of watermelon. Each time it is served to me, I feel I'm being honored with the memories of a precious kid. I want to remember; I want to dive into those special times he brought to our lives.
I miss you, Daniel. Thanks for showing me how to plunge in---even into the unknown---and not be afraid.