I'm sitting here on my back porch waiting for my daughter to come home. She has been in Guatemala for the summer and I haven't seen her for 12 weeks.
I remember the first night I had her at home, fell asleep in my bed, and when I woke up, Jim had her wrapped like a taco in her little blanket on his chest in bed. I was so moved by how he was holding her...comforting her and I knew we were never going to be the same. And we were not and still are not! We were connected back then, committed to raising a good person and that was that. We knew we would love her, but we didn't understand the depth of that love, that soul jarring, soul changing love that is indescribable.
Then they grow up. The decide they want to do things that you would rather they did not do. From swimming, to band to a nose piercing...and you figure out the best way to deal with stuff. I always wonder if I did okay...if I said too much (of course) or if I should have let them just figure it out without my opinion.
I remember when she was looking at college, I so wanted her to be close...to go to CSU or CU so I could visit and I would be able to know what was going on. She picked CU and I was so happy...an hour and one half away if I jumped in the car. But summers were different...she worked at a camp three hours away and I saw her once. That wasn't in the bargain. I missed her terribly and wished she just got a job closer. The saving grace was I still had the two boys at home to fuss over and love too much.
Then this summer...the choices were Africa, where she applied for an internship but did not get it or Guatemala. I was trying my hardest to be a big girl and be supportive but I really wanted her close...so I could see her...hang with her every so often. Then she picked Guatemala and I knew I needed to support her. Whenever she would ask my what I thought, I would tell her it was her call, that she needed to go out and experience things...and what I didn't say is, "what about your mother!"
So she did it and she is coming home and I am sure she is a different person. When you live with nothing, serving others for nothing in return...how does that not change you?
I thought about her today when I went to see a patient that is not going to be with us too much longer. After the crisis was averted and the patient was settled down, I told the family it was time to "love him up." The wife and the daughter sat down next to him and started to tell him things, taking turns...
The wife told him what a wonderful husband he was and how it was okay for him to go...how they were going to miss him but he didn't need to stay for them. Then the daughter reached up and kissed him on the cheek and whispered things in his ear. In his less than responsive state, he turned to her, opened his eyes wide and smiled. She continued on through a veil of tears talking about how much she appreciated him and how lucky she was to have him as her father. The daughter is young, not even out of her twenties, and it is obvious that they adored each other.
I walked into the kitchen to give them some privacy and gather myself. The grandmother was pouring coffee and offered me a cup to which I accepted...then she said, "I lost my husband 10 years ago and this brings so much back. Life is so hard, actually, it is always hard and when you have a time when something is good, you have to remember that and let it sustain you through the rest of it". I agreed with her...sipped my coffee and thought about what she said.
I see death...I do death...on a daily basis. I help folks die and I help folks love their dying ones out here. I love my job, I love being with people when they need comfort, strength and sometimes to truth even when hearing it is devastating.
It is a connection...a bond between hearts, souls and what's in between. I thought more about what that grandma said. Life is so hard and sometimes I make it harder by wasting time with things that I have no control over...like where my kid goes to college and if she experiences life different than I think she should...or, God forbid...she has a nose piercing!
The best thing about my job is I become humbled every single day...every single home I walk into and every single person that thinks different that I do. Humbled like I was today.
I am so excited to see my kid but she mentioned next summer, in passing, and I already reacted with a bit of a negative comment.
Then I lived through this morning and realized that we all must do what makes our heart sing, what we feel called to do or what we have the gifts to do...and if that is living in a South American country serving folks...well I guess I will have to get a credit card for air miles, huh?
I am sure her plane is on the ground in Denver and in about an hour, I will have my arms wrapped around her trying to remember that grandma's words, "Life is always hard, and when you have a time that something is good, you have to remember that and let it sustain you through the rest of it". Then I will wrap them tighter until she asks me to stop....and I won't.
We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,