I remember the day I knew.
Knew that you were somehow changed. Knew that you had moved beyond forgetful. Knew that your life was fading into the recesses of your brilliant mind.
I remember the hum of the breathing machine.
Your breath moving with a steady in and out. Your eye roll and indignation that such a thing would interrupt our chat. Your sweet little hand reaching for mine as if to say, “Don’t go.”
But as it always does, life beckoned me home and I had to say our usual goodbye.
A squish. A kiss. A whole mess of I love you’s. And yet?
Something in the usual seem changed.
It started the minute I began to gather my things and you asked,“Is it okay if I sit in the front seat?” To which I turned and smiled and chalked it up to a little post-stroke confusion. But as I bent down to hug you, you started to stand as though a wheelchair no longer seemed necessary.
So I sat you down gently with a “Oh Mimi, you have to stay here. Remember you are in the hospital and we are trying to get you better so you can be home with Papa?”
But you started to stand again, insisting, “I want to go home with you. I want sit in the front seat. I promise we’ll have fun.”
Tears began to well in my eyes as I sat you down once more, pressed our foreheads together and said, “Mimi, I want nothing more than to bring you home with me right this SECOND. But you still have some important work to do here.”
Your eyes grew wide and tears began to fall as you whispered, “Well, that is just the pits.” And I had to agree with a “Yes, it is, sweet girl. Yes, it is. But I promise home is coming soon.”
Two months later, I would see those wide, tear-filled eyes again.
Longing for our Papa, searching his face for the last time, saying again what your words could not, “I want to go Home with you.” And yet? Something in you stayed.
I cannot help but think it was love.
Love for your girl who had lost so much. Love for your grandbabies and great-grandbabies whose hearts needed a chance to say goodbye. Love for your boy who needed to be there when you finally went Home.
And such an unabashed, selfless love it was.
To break through a cruel disease just to be known. To change us all in its wake. To open our hearts to a love so deep and so wide, I cannot help but call it good.
For soon is now and all that was taken from you has been restored. Giving way to a hope that softly pulls me forward. Forward toward a sweet promise so familiar I can almost hear you calling,
“Soon, Sara. Home is coming soon.”