I am troubled today. In the midst of the everyday here, my mind and heart are focused on the mother of a little girl in Cleveland. The mother of a little girl that I have never met, will never meet. The mother of a little girl that is dying. Her little girl is seven years old. I have a seven year old little girl, too.
The message from my girlfriend was that her niece was in the hospital, that things were spiraling out of control and that today they would probably have to “make some decisions.” She said she was going to Cleveland “to say goodbye.”
My heart aches for this mother. How do you do this? How do you say it is okay to let her go? How do you hold her hand for the last time, kiss her forehead and smell her hair for the very last time?
How do you walk away from her lying there, with the knowledge that you will never see her again, and fight every urge to wrap your arms around her and carry her home?
How do you come home again, without your little girl?
And walk into her room. And smell her pillows. And see her artwork. And her ballet shoes.
How do you get through Wednesdays, the day she had ballet?
How do you ever ever feel that you can live without that little girl in your life? How do things get back to normal? Do they ever?
Next Tuesday I will chaperone my daughter’s 1st grade class on a school field trip to see a play.
Next month, she will have her very first dance recital.
Next year, I will watch her make her first communion.
In a few years, I will teach her how to put on lipstick and eye liner, and how to drive a car.
I will cry along with her as she bears the weight of her first broken heart.
I will take her to get her hair done for the prom.
I will cry as she walks across the stage for graduation. I will cry when she leaves for college.
And all too soon, I will stand before her, straightening her veil and buttoning her dress, and watch her commit herself to the man she loves.
But that mother will be wondering. Wondering what her little girl would look like. Who she would have married. What her babies would look like.
My heart is heavy for that little girl’s mother. Tonight, I will hug my babies a little tighter. I will linger a little longer at their bedsides, and I will pray to God for another day to be their Mommy. And I will pray for that little girl’s Mommy, who’s world will never be the same.