I didn't cry this time until I got out to the car and I was able to dry those tears quickly. But I really lost it when I was telling Bill about our visit when I got home. Seeing "Amy's" lazy boy where she spent her relaxing time, and greeting (and hugging some) of her friends didn't overwhelm me like it did before. It was such a different feeling.
It was not so much that I missed Amy being there, it was more of a feeling that I was happy she wasn't there anymore. I can truly say that I am glad she is free of her disabilities. Amy can now walk, run, jump and dance. She can speak and sing. She can use her hands and arms to praise God and worship him. She can hold on to Cocoa's mane as they gallop across heaven. And I picture her healthy and well, her arms and legs are filled out and she laughs. A lot! I don't even imagine her sedately walking, but dancing to wherever she needs to go in heaven.
I'm not even crying as I write this, but smiling.
A few days ago I was really looking at Amy's closet door, the special door I had an artist paint as a surprise for her 31st birthday. I told him to paint butterflies and a fairy and maybe an arbor, but left the design up to him to be creative. This is the finished product.
I told about Amy seeing her door when she came home from the hospital and there is also a picture of the artist in the following post.
So, I'm really looking at the door like I never have before and this thought just came to me:
Amy is following that path through the arbor, on the stepping stones, through the meadow and into the trees to a place we have never been before.
She is going ahead of us.
But we can't follow her yet.
I took care of her every need for 31 years and 1 month. I always thought of her as a child, because I had to take care of her. She enjoyed children's movies, but yet she enjoyed good wholesome love story movies also. She liked to watch some reality t.v. and loved to listen to audio books that were for adults. It is just really hard for me to think of Amy as an adult. But it is hard for me to think of my almost 25 year old son, who is about to be a father in 4 months, as an adult! So maybe that is the mother in me.
Amy is on an adventure, that I am not a part of yet.
And you know what?
I can finally say that it is ok. I am happy for her.
My oldest sister, Erin, passed away in 1995 from melanoma. A few weeks before she died I sent her this poem from the book, "Little Women."
Sitting patient in the shadow
Till the blessed light shall come,
A serene and saintly presence
Sanctifies our troubled home.
Earthly joys and hopes and sorrows
Break like ripples on the strand
Of the deep and solemn river
Where her willing feet now stand.
O my sister, passing from me,
Out of human care and strife,
Leave me, as a gift, those virtues
Which have beautified your life.
Dear, bequeath me that great patience
Which has power to sustain
A cheerful, uncomplaining spirit
In its prison–house of pain.
Give me, for I need it sorely,
Of that courage, wise and sweet,
Which has made the path of duty
Green beneath your willing feet.
Give me that unselfish nature,
That with charity devine
Can pardon wrong for love's dear sake––
Meek heart, forgive me mine!
Thus our parting daily loseth
Something of its bitter pain,
And while learning this hard lesson,
My great loss becomes my gain.
For the touch of grief will render
My wild nature more serene,
Give to life new aspirations,
A new trust in the unseen.
Henceforth, safe across the river,
I shall see forever more
A beloved, household spirit
Waiting for me on the shore.
Hope and faith, born of my sorrow,
Guardian angels shall become,
And the sister gone before me
By their hands shall lead me home.
Erin always wanted a husband, children, a family. Her three younger sisters had what she never did. But now she was the one doing something new. She was taking a journey that none of us had been on. She was the one who got to meet Jesus face to face first.
I remembered this as I looked at Amy's door.
Little did I know, just 18 short years later Amy would be taking her journey first and joining my sister in heaven.
As I was finding this poem (on the internet Little Women) I also read the rest of the chapter and this paragraph brought tears.
Seldom except in books do the dying utter memorable words, see visions, or depart with beatified countenances, and those who have sped many parting souls know that to most the end comes as naturally and simply as sleep. As Beth had hoped, the 'tide went out easily', and in the dark hour before dawn, on the bosom where she had drawn her first breath, she quietly drew her last, with no farewell but one loving look, one little sigh.
I praise God that I was able to hold Amy as she breathed her last. It was a gift that He gave to me and I thank Him for it.
The artist's website: