I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life this week: I came home, leaving my critically ill daughter three hours away in the hospital in ICU. I left her in good hands–her father’s–but, still, it was agonizing to leave.
Earlier in the week, a month after we raced to the hospital in the dead of night with the clothes on our backs, I had realized that my time was up. I was empty. Every small thing was getting to me, and big ones were still happening, too. I knew it was best for everyone for me to leave, especially my daughter.
As the week wore on and swap day approached, I broke down every time I thought of leaving. That last night sitting in the hospital garden, bargaining with myself and with God, I realized why it was so hard for me to leave when I knew it was best for her: in the back of my mind, I’d promised myself I wouldn’t leave her until she had turned the corner. But she hadn’t. I was having to leave her sicker than when I had brought her that dark night so long ago. I had failed her as her mother and her protector. As I sat there in the garden, it dawned on me that maybe my job had never been to fix it, though that’s what parents always want to do. Maybe it had been my job all along just to be there. That I had done and done well. Now it was her dad’s turn to have the great privilege of being there for her. My job this round was done. I turned it over to God, who I realized had had it all along.
I hung in there pretty well on the three hour drive home, partly because her kid sister was in the car, and partly because I had some measure of peace that I had done the right thing. An hour away from home my husband called: Megan had been sitting up, alert and talking since I left, a marked change. She stayed up late that night as well and passed a major medical milestone the next morning. Her pain was finally going away. She was turning the corner, just as I was leaving her. I cried as hard as I have in this whole ordeal, this time for joy. I did meet my promise, after all, to stay with her until she got better…I just had to have the faith to let go before I could see it. I did truly leave her in the best hands – her Father’s.