On a plane, headed to Memphis, by way of Ohio...go figure. My anxiety has lowered, we got to the airport on time, they let me on the plane, and we are in the air! The flight attendant has already been super nice to Noah, and all is well.
Trying not to put too much thought into what we are headed to do. I know this weekend won't be to easy, I'm aware of all the memories attached to what we are doing. In fact the gate at the airport, right across from ours was headed to Orlando and I saw little girls with Princess back packs boarding.
Noah is just as excited this time and really wants to open up that tray table, he even brought work books with him since he's not at school today and he knew they were tables he could work on....I love him!
Thoughts going into this weekend....seeing St. Jude for the first time without her by my side. Will they remember us? Will it look the same? Will the same Starbucks girl still work there? Will I cry? If I do, will I be able to control it? Will the bald heads everywhere tug at my heart? How will Noah do? I bet it will be hot, it's always hot there! Did I bring enough tissues?
The past few weeks have been filled with many ups and downs. Many days of just missing her immensely but joy from others who share just what she means to them.
One flight down, nice to meet you Ohio. Now to Memphis. I know that airport too well, I can feel anxiety building now, and it's not just the wiggle worm baby hanging out in my belly. Noah is still chatting about clouds and when the lady is going to bring the snacks around, even though he has been eating the same breakfast sand which for the past 30 minutes. I'm trying to concentrate on him, I'm failing.
When we left St. Jude almost a year ago, it didn't feel right. Not because we were now taking a terminally ill child home, but our time there just didn't feel complete, there was something left undone, call it closure if you want, I'm not sure. When a place becomes your life it's hard to just walk away. They didn't make us go, it was voluntary, but it still felt undone. We said good bye to those closest to us...a big part of my heart stayed at that hospital, in fact Ellie's name is on those walls. I knew I had to go back. Many people have thought I was crazy for trying to make this trip being pregnant, but I knew that if God didn't want me to take this trip, doors would have closed, things wouldn't have worked out. I really need to remember this now. God wouldn't have let this work out if he wasn't going to be by me the entire time. Instead of worrying about my reactions, I need to trust that he's only going to allow what he deems good to happen.
Day 1 is done, we are whopped, but my mind is still going fast!
Coming into Memphis brought tears. Memphis airport, more tears. Driving up to the hospital, felt like I couldn't breathe. Circled the parking lot 10 times trying to find a spot, helped break the string of sad thoughts! We park, we get out, we cry in the middle of the parking lot, Noah included. Oh wow, this is going to be tough. We pray. I later learned that others were praying for us all day, and I truly believe you interceded for us. We made it through the rest of the day with smiles and memories. One of my favorite moments today was sitting outside amongst the flowers. Ellie always ticked the flowers here, and she loved this one little maze like area with flowers and these big balls she could climb on. We went to take a "break" today (Noah was a hot mess for an hour or so, but he had totally earned the right to be one!) Before I could even realize what was going one, Noah was running around in that make like flower place, with butterflies just flying all around him. He started chasing them trying to catch one, and every time he'd turn around more flew. It was beautiful. I sat to put my feet up and enjoy this moment, and one little but fly landed near me, hung out for a few, then off it went.
I have wonderful memories of that Starbucks too...after long nights of no sleep! So of course I visited, and yes the same girl works there.
Once we got back to our area, Noah quickly realized there was a table of goodies to color and make things, and friends there to play with, I saw him crawled up in a lap and he was happy, probably a much needed break from mommy and daddy! As nurses and doctors and receptionists started to file in, I wondered would they remember her, we weren't around for that long. But they did, they hugged and shared stories of stickers and pink monkey. Some even still have their Ellie stickers!
It was a sad reason to see one another again, but I'm so glad we did this, and we saw them again. That felt better, like the way it should be.
Today I end the day proud. Proud of us for deciding to be brave and make this trip. Proud that we've let tears flow freely. Proud that people recognize my daughters smile and remember her monkey. Proud that we have raised a son who loves to talk about his sister. Proud to belong to the St. Jude and the Habitat for Hope family. Proud that I have honestly shared this journey with so many, and because of that, lives are touched. Proud of my Blaine boys for being so strong today (and for how quickly they fell asleep!)
Thank you all who have prayed for us this weekend. God used you to give us strength today. Keep praying for tomorrow!
St. Jude without you Ellie Lou, is definetly not the same, you my dear were such a light! But thanks to God sending his son, we have the promise of eternal life, we have Hope!
Prayers, Praise and Pink (and oh there was a crazy pink sky here tonight!)
Carly....and my sleepy boys!