I boarded the plane - a little one hour hop from Milwaukee to Indianapolis.
But it was the first time I've been on a plane since I was headed home and my Snoopy was gone, leaving behind a little 12 pound shell of cold beauty and sickness.
As the plane rose above Lake Michigan, the plane banked, and through my tears I couldn't tell whether I was looking at the deep blue sky or the depths of the water. Shafts of sun made me avert my eyes. For the first time since I had left those weeks ago, I whispered something to Zoe. Maybe being a little closer to heaven and the imperceptible sky and depths I couldn't imagine made me feel closer.
When we landed I talked to Jen, who is fighting valiantly to hold on to what is true and right and peaceful in the face of all that is terrible and wrong and discordant. Writing thank you cards...that's necessary to show gratitude. But thanking people for...sharing in our grief, something we never wanted. It's all too hard. People aren't supposed to have to deal with this. Jen trying to process the outpouring of love and thank people for it while she wished it had never happened. Jen recounting her last minutes, her last months. The long lonely nights of loving our daughter. The long and lonely 25 days in the hospital in 2008.
Time will heal, we're told. But do I want to heal? How will time heal? Make us forget? Make us not remember the sound she made when she wanted to laugh? The moment she came out of surgery and I whispered to her to come back to me? Maybe I don't want to heal. Neither Jen nor I want to forget.
My friend told me today that I had gone back to work too soon, and he might have been right. But as I stretch myself out and work towards something, it helps me deal with those terrible and glorious moments, helps me find a breath to breathe.
I walk with utter peace. I laugh and joke and smile. And I breathe through tears and weep until I cannot stand. And that is what I did yesterday, and probably will today. Maybe for a long time.
My baby is gone, and she will never return. And that is terrible. God has taken her home and she knows love beyond that which everyone showed us, love beyond what I can understand, and that is glorious.