barefoot angel

Yesterday while—inside my head—I was quietly celebrating Calivn’s seventh birthday, my closest childhood friend’s six-year-old niece was undergoing brain surgery three thousand miles away.

In November, when she was just five, someone found the beautiful flaxen-haired child unconscious on the floor of her school’s bathroom. It appeared she had had a seizure. My friend told me that her niece used to have febrile seizures when she was little though she hadn’t had any in two years. But somehow the seizures had returned.

An MRI revealed a cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM) on the right side of her brain. AVMs can cause deficit, pain or epilepsy. To control her seizures she began taking an antiepileptic drug—one of the same ones Calvin was on—while her parent’s scheduled her for surgery to remove the malformation from her brain.

I’ve never met the little girl but I’ve seen pictures. She's a barefoot angel. In my favorite photo she stands—hands clasped—wearing a feathery, cherry-red ruffled skirt, a bright white shirt and a matching red cowboy hat trimmed in white and fastened snugly under her chin—her long, wavy, golden hair tumbling down her back.

Last night in bed, I closed my eyes tightly, holding this sweet candy cane image of her in my head. I will carry it with me all day today while she goes through her second brain surgery. And tonight I will dream of her running through a meadow—a thin stalk of grass in her small fist—downy dandelion tufts suspended like jellyfish in the summer breeze and parting for her perfectly awkward six-year-old cartwheels.

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