She left her door decorated. I dreaded opening that door when we got home from the airport today. Without her. But I did. It was back to nothing but a guest room. In perfect order. No personality, just tiny touches of her. 2 skirts in the closet she didn’t have room to take back in her suitcase. Rubbing the cotton between my fingers, I smiled as I remembered the first time she put on the purple one. Smoothing the material with her hands, smiling like a princess, her eyes looked at me for approval. The basket of scrapbooking supplies she used every night as she built her book of memories to take back to Eastern Europe.
I closed the closet door and sunk into the guest bed. The bed she slept on top of rather than under the covers. I repositioned the turtle lamp she used as a nightlight for 5 weeks. Most reminders of her had been removed from the room. Without me asking, she put the room back the way it was before she graced us with her presence. And she was a grace. She put new sheets on the bed, took out everything that made the room hers for a time.
So now we have our memories of her. And I’m reminded of the reason I started writing to begin with several years ago. My heart for my family. To create memories that build a treasury. They carry us through the hard times. They add sweetness to the good times. They offer laughter to a crying heart, and a smile through tears that won’t stop.
I walked out of the guest room. *M’s* room. I fell onto Andrew’s bed and sobbed again. Jacob didn’t have any idea what had triggered it. He simply said, “Hey, mom, would you please not take the signs and decorations off her door?”
She’s been gone only hours, but it feels like forever. She was here 5 weeks, it feels like it was 5 days.
Memories are so worth the effort to create. The simple ones are the ones of most value. To me. Today as I grieve her leaving us, I find myself not thinking of the trip we took with her or the “big” outings. I’m thinking of those simple moments that found a home deep in our hearts.
Everywhere I turn today, I see her. I see a note she left me in my office on the whiteboard. I see a note she left me on my coffee. I see paint she left that wouldn’t fit. I see her everywhere. Except I don’t see her. And I miss her so badly that it physically hurts. And here in my home, life seems on pause. It seems unnatural to move forward without her here with us. The hardest part comes in a few days when I must reenter life and talk to people. When I see life is moving on and realize ours must too.
God comforts our aching hearts. We know He has a plan for her life. We trust in His goodness and His timing.
On my blog I shared in great detail about the first child we hosted 18 months ago. I shared very little of this hosting. I don’t know why except maybe I thought by keeping it in my heart, it wouldn’t hurt so bad to say goodbye. Well, that’s not the case.
At the airport this morning, I grabbed her for one final hug. Her body shook with sobs. Or was that mine? I held her head between my hands forcing her eyes to look at mine. “You are loved. We love you. God loves you. You are good. You have value even if the people who are supposed to love you don’t.” Her eyes said ok. If there is one message I want her to remember it is that God loves her.
The memories provide both pain and comfort. Without pain we would miss the wonder of experiencing God as our Comforter. Today our family is in desperate need of our Comforter.
A friend posted this on my Facebook post this morning, so I’ll end with this:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
~ C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves