It seems to come in waves. Maybe we're just more aware. But lately, the last six weeks or so, there have been so many little ones going Home.
And it feels like many are older ones. Children who've made it past that magic "1st Birthday" milestone.
It's weird. I almost feel like I'm channeling my grandpa's spirit. I remember him sitting at the table listening to the obituaries read over the radio. "Yep, knew him. Yep, went to school with her. Yep, he was a good guy. Why am I still here? How come everyone else is gone?"
Except he was older, much older. And we tried to tell him we still needed him. I don't think he believed us.
And I ache as my friends' children go on ahead of them. And I fear. And it's hard.
Today sweet Harlie gained her angel wings. She was found unresponsive; they believe she'd had a seizure. For almost two weeks they have fought for her. But today she was moved to the Butterfly Room to say good-by.
Harlie is ten. She's trached and vented. Her mom has been there, holding my hand for our whole journey. Aaron was born just before her fifth birthday. Can I tell you what a blessing, what comfort I found in this beautiful girl and her mom? She was almost FIVE! Five years longer than we were told she could live, than Aaron could live.
And almost five months later when he was trached and put on the vent, her mom was there for me, telling me it was not only possible, but good. That life could continue and be happy and fun.
And now she's gone.
Through her ten years she touched so many. And even in death, she'll continue to help as she becomes an organ donor.
But right now, this moment, this day, for a long, long, long time, it hurts.
Today in church, as the Sacrament was being prepared, the organist played a portion of a hymn, not the one we sang. As the words registered in my mind, I started to cry. "Death unlocks the passageway into eternity."
Fly high, precious child. Run, skip, jump, sing and laugh, breathe. Break free from the tattered body you inhabited on this earth. You are loved, you are missed, you are valued above price.