Dad didn't have to say that anything was wrong in order for me to read the expression in his eyes. I got out of the car and marched inside, where I waited for Dakota to go up to his room. Once he went upstairs, I turned and faced Dad.
"Nadia, I'm so sorry about Devyn. If there's anything I can do for you - "
"Dad, what's wrong?"
I could tell that Dad was trying to hide his problems. "Nothing," he said. "I mean, I feel bad for you and Devyn. I never realized how hard he has it. Maybe I could find a better place for him and Cole to live."
"Dad, come on! You're not fooling anyone. Something's on your mind."
Dad shook his head. "I'm fine, Nadia."
I stepped forward and tentatively put my hand on Dad's shoulder. "Will you plesae tell me what's going on? Keeping secrets only makes everything more painful."
"It's my heart. I've got bad heart disease."
There, Dad stopped, and I realized it was because he was overcome with emotion. "Dad..." I began.
"I'm sorry. I don't know why I'm being so emotional. I think it's just that when things are finally starting to look up, God has to pull a trick like this. It doesn't seem fair." Dad rubbed his eyes, and it was then that I realized how important Dakota and I really were to him.
"Dad, I want to pray for you. Right here and right now."
I could tell my words took Dad by great surprise. He finally nodded, albeit slowly. "i guess..." he said, not bringing his eyes to meet mine.
I opened my mouth and began to pray. With heartfelt words, I begged God to comfort our family. I had never been eloquent, but I prayed from the heart. And something told me that I was doing all I needed to do. I was overcome with prayer.
When I finished, Dad gave me a long hug.
And for the first time in ages, I really and truly gave him a wholehearted hug back.