One week ago we were on our way to the hospital, preparing for Bethany's arrival via c-section. After the initial anxiety of the the first few hours pre-op, the day flew by. Those first few hours felt like minutes. I remember looking at the clock around 3 and thinking "this is going too fast". I kept her with me until around 1 in the afternoon the next day, but it has to be the fastest 26 hours of my life. What I wouldn't have given to slow down time. I sat and held her again on Friday for an hour. Then we saw her again on Sunday for an hour, and for two hours on Monday. None of it was enough. All of it went too fast.
We laid her to rest yesterday in an absolutely beautiful Mass and internment. Dear Father Francis gave a beautiful homily, while our parish priest concelebrated, and our friend Deacon Mike assisted at Mass. We are so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful, faith-filled friends on this journey. The hugs, cards, prayers, and kind words of our friends before and after Mass meant so much and made us feel so loved.
There is a peace and a joy that comes to me through all of this. Even while I cry for myself, while I am heartbroken for my own loss, while I wish I had more time for my own memories, I know she is better off than she would have been here. I rejoice for her, and feel a deep, abiding peace that she is in a place of eternal happiness, that she will never know pain again, that any suffering she endured here on earth has come to an end. She is healed, body and soul. She is no longer in a broken world, with broken people. That is beautiful beyond words.
So my heart will remain broken for a time, but I know from experience that it will heal. I will eventually remember her without crying, and just be able to smile at the thought of holding her, at the pictures, at the memory of her tiny hands and turned in feet, without doing so through tears of grief. For now I cling to that certainty, that this pain will lessen, I will heal, and my children will heal. And then, one day, I will hug her again. And one day, my family will be together again, all 9 of us.