I’m going to have to get good at leaving. As I split my time between one daughter at home and the other in a hospital four states away, it’s something I’m going to do a lot of, including passing my husband en route each way. So far, it’s been hard to do.
The harder goodbye is leaving my ill daughter behind in the hospital. Even though I always leave her in the care of her loving father and capable medical staff, it goes against every fiber of a mother’s being to voluntarily walk away from your sick child. It takes a willpower beyond almost anything I’ve ever done, even though living in a hospital is draining. Hospital living is all of the “glamor” of business travel, without any of the luxuries like a private bathroom, a real bed, or restaurant meals. I can’t wait to leave, even as I simultaneously can’t bear to leave. The guilt I feel when I’m at home–healthy, sleeping in my own bed, eating familiar food–is almost as bad. It all seems so unfair.
I constantly have to remind myself of the end goal in this ordeal: our precious daughter returned to full health. From the beginning, there’s been no question that we’d do whatever that took. We now know of too many other parents who never got the privilege of this long term, long distance round robin on behalf of their children. So I’ll get good at goodbyes until the glorious day I get to leave one last time to bring our daughter home. While this may all seem unfair, we have much hope that day will come.
“It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d rather say hello. Hello to a new a adventure.” –Ernie Harwell