My mom left this morning, picked up at 7:15 AM and on the plane home by 9:00 AM. We made it a late night last night finally getting to bed at 2:00 AM. We said our goodbyes, made tentative plans for her return and turned in. I woke up to a tearful Autumn. Aside from the emotional trauma of the past seven weeks, Autumn is always crushed when her Nana leaves. She was morose all day and frequently commented that she misses her Nana.
So do we. My mom and my sister Emily were the first responder family members down here, 19 hours after I pulled Claire out of the pool. Just thinking back on when they arrived is surreal. I’ve tried to explain what it felt like when I came around the corner and saw them both walking down the Medical City hall, luggage in tow. I can’t. I was overwhelmed. All I could do was hug my mom and cry.
My mom hasn’t stopped hugging me since she got here. She’s taken care of Autumn and Heidi, making sure they were distracted, entertained, fed and loved. She’s stayed with Claire, battling insomnia, sometimes due to Claire, other times because her body and mind wouldn’t let her sleep. She talked with both Tiffany and me into the wee hours of many mornings. She’s cried with us. She been strong for us. She’s broken down for us and with us (which has been frequent).
While I never wanted to put it to the test, I always knew that should tragedy strike, my family would be champions for us: my mom has been our family’s heartbeat, present and strong when others could not be here. What little joy we can take from this situation comes from how quickly our family rallied around us and with such fervor. And the rally came with their own sacrifices. I was exposed to the joy that comes from being married to your best friend from my parents. They’ve fought for each other for the last 30 years. The elapsed time since May 31 has marked the longest time they’ve been apart. Tiffany and I can’t imagine being separated for long because we crave being together so much. I know it was the same for my parents. They gave us an incredible gift amidst our grief. It was one big sacrifice for their broken children.
This is far from over. But my mom was here to help get us started. She picked us up so we could walk again. We just hope and pray that the next time we see her, we’ll have done the same for Claire, and we’ll be able to walk her into Nana’s arms.
See you soon Nana. We love you.