Today, I went back.
More than 16 months later, I went back to the town where my daughter died. I drove 2 hours, fueled by prayers.
I arrived on the doorstep of Sarah’s house this morning at 10:30. It was not the house I left on February 10, 2008. As we walked out the door that day to be driven home in our grief, my husband told her husband, “I don’t know if we can come back here.” Sarah’s husband replied, “Then we’ll move.” And they did.
Today, I avoided thinking too much. I avoided going by the old house. I avoided looking at the hospital sign. I did not leave town the way we left before. I begged the Lord for a totally uneventful, absolutely enjoyable day and that is what He gave me.
I did not sit on Sarah’s couch…I don’t think I ever will. That couch isn’t for me and Micah. It just wouldn’t feel right.
I did not scrapbook. That would have been too much to add to this already difficult equation. Baby steps…baby steps.
My oldest daughter who feared the visit (to the point of asking if we could leave Micah at home with Grandma instead of taking him) found herself not wanting to go home when the time came.
Tonight, back at home, I lay down to nurse my 5 month old son in the bed I spent countless hours nursing my precious Emmy in. As I pulled my little guy in closer to me, I looked up at Emily’s sketch and wept.
I miss her more than words could ever sufficiently describe. I ask the Lord to make sure she knows just how much I love her. I want her to know that when I get to Heaven I will hold her and rock her and tuck those tiny fly-away hairs behind her ear.
Someone once said you can never go back. While you can never go back to exactly the way things were (even though I have asked for this many times), you can go back. And when going back involves something deeply painful, the way this going back was for me, it isn’t so much about going back. It’s more about going forward; healing one step at a time.
Today I healed another section of my grieving heart. I did something hard. I did something that has scared me for a long while. I did something that required me to take the old memories and allow myself to add to them with new ones.
I went back…I went forward.