I hate goodbyes! H.A.T.E. them! This week has been a week of goodbyes- gut wrenching goodbyes- and I have cried more goodbye tears then I ever remember crying before! We all knew it was coming… there was no avoiding it, and I think Melinda and I (especially Melinda!) held it together pretty well considering. I know that I am the big winner in this particular goodbye, but it strangely doesn’t feel like winning at all! To witness a loving woman say goodbye to the little girl she rescued and nurtured for 5 and ½ years was, to be honest,… grueling. Each time I hugged Melinda I felt as if her emotions escaped her pores and rubbed into mine somehow… not once did I hug Melinda without tears. God used Melinda to rescue Abby from sure death and then she spent years and years, sacrificing self ambition, in order to care for a child no one else wanted. What love… How humbled I am by such love. But that love did not stop there! That love let go… willingly let go for the greater good of the child she loved more than self. Suddenly being forced to return Abby to the orphanage following a fire in another foster home far away served as the wake up call her Mama heart needed. The alternatives to letting Abby go were unbearable. They meant the possibility of Abby spending a lifetime in institutional care designed specifically for the most mentally disabled among us. Melinda knew that Abby had so much to offer a blinded world, and she simply couldn’t bear the thought. So she chose to say goodbye instead!
The impact of that decision culminated in one solitary week of saying goodbye, as Abby met her new forever family and prepared to leave her place of birth and the only home she’d ever known… Melinda’s. I stood in the hallway and eaves-dropped until I couldn’t bear it anymore. She gather Abby close to whisper her parting words… “You’re going bye-bye now, Abby. You’re going to get on a big airplane with your new Mommy today and we won’t see you again for a little while. But Mama will pray for you, and Michaela will pray for you, and we will call you soon, OK?…. Can Mama have one last hug? (hugs) I love you sweet girl!”….
I remember standing in the hallway the night my grandfather said goodbye to my grandmother as she was ready to take her final breath and pass to eternity. I eavesdropped that night too, because there are just some moments in life that are too beautiful to walk past without drinking them in deeply. That night had been one of those times. Today was another one.
I’ll never forget the words my grandfather spoke to my grandmother that night…. So tender, so loving,… giving her permission to go. And she did. That’s what Melinda did this morning for the little girl she loved so much. So tender, so loving… giving her permission to go. Only an act of selfless love willingly lets go.
There’s a chance that a day is drawing near that I may, too, have to let go of someone I desperately love… I pray that I can do it with the God glorifying heart I witnessed in Melinda this morning.
Melinda and I left Abby in the room and I walked her downstairs where she was to catch a taxi. There was nothing more to do. The transaction was complete. I had been legally declared Abby’s forever mother and it was time for me to take her home far, far away. We embraced one last time and clung to one another for a long time… tears…. If not in such a public place, I would have resorted to ugly, snotty, sobbing. “I love you”- “Thank you” was all I could muster. She whispered back into my ear… “Take care of my little girl!” And she was gone…. Displaying to me in the most beautiful way I’d ever witnessed what “Letting Go” really means! I will never be the same again. And you are not to worry, Melinda… you can bet I’ll take care of your little girl! You are her Forever Mama… and her Forever Mommy will never let her forget you!