I found myself alone in the airport bathroom. I can’t remember why, but I’m guessing the girls were with their daddy and our luggage, allowing me the luxury of taking my time and a breather. The bathroom is usually my retreat when I’m feeling overwhelmed in public. The place I go to try to calm my nerves or keep from crying, especially in airports.
It’s funny, the way anxiety has become a part of this grief process. Well, not really “funny” per se. But, exciting, all the same. So not only am I now liable to break down in tears at any given moment, but I’m also subject to panic attacks. Most likely in public, in the most inconvenient of times.
Grief can be such a humbling thing. Always reminding me we can only live one moment at a time, one foot in front of another. And to do the best you can with what you’ve got. My Grandad always told me that and it makes so much more sense now that I’m older, but sometimes “what I’ve got” feels very lacking.
I’ve heard grief compared to losing a limb. You learn to move forward, but you are forever changed and now walk with a limp. I get that. Limping is humbling. Feeling no longer whole is life-altering. You have to learn how to do everything differently than you have always known – living a life that you would never have wanted. Never would have ever imagined it would be yours to live, yet here you are in the stall of an airport bathroom.
But, what I’ve also come to learn is that there are so still so many blessings. That there are things I’ve learned through the grief that I would never have learned any other way, like how to keep going, how colors are brighter after being in the dark, how moments are everything – even the hard ones, and that God always provides.
And as I sat there, seeking solace in the corners of an airport bathroom, a special moment was given to me. All of a sudden, I heard her name. “Sayge, Mommy is going to go potty now, and you are going to go with me. No, we aren’t going to touch that. Sayge, this isn’t where we crawl on the floor. No… No… No. Sayge, put that back. Do you think you need to go potty? Sayge, do you want to try to go potty with Momma? Sayge, no. Sayge, please quit touching that. Sayge…”
I just sat there. I was frozen at this moment of a mother working so hard to do a simple task. I heard my daughter’s oh-so-precious name, whose name I don’t get to call out. To quit crawling on the public bathroom floor. To quit touching everything. A moment that is not mine but was given to me, anyway. A little glimpse into who she might be – a glimpse into Heaven.
I believe with everything in me, she would have been as busy as that little girl. I also think she might have been sticking her head under the stall, looking at all the other people. Maybe even introducing herself to one of them before I could reach her and pull her back.
And, that may not sound like Heaven to you, but to me, it does.
To be able to live out all these moments, I am missing and longing.
To get to discover who she is in every stage of her life.
To get to see her play with her sisters.
That is Heaven to me. And, I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m far from a Bible scholar. I don’t have all the verses memorized, and I don’t know what the words mean in Hebrew. But I do know that it says that eternity is waiting for me. (2 Cor. 4: 14-18) A thousand years and a thousand more. I do know that it says I will be my best version. (Phil. 3:21) I do know that it says there will be no more tears. (Rev. 21:4) So, I take that. And I translate that to mean I will get my life with her and this time here is only a moment compared to what is waiting for me. And I believe it with all my heart.
I live each day with that hope in my heart. It is how I’m still able to put one foot in front of the other. Even with a limp. How a moment in a bathroom where I get to hear her name out loud can be considered a gift and not just pure torture. It’s when I am saved from living in Hell on Earth from losing a child not wholly destroying me. I hold on.
To all I know and believe.
To all the good that still surrounds me and all the good that is worth waiting for.
To these little glimpses into Heaven.
Even in the stall of a bathroom, the treasures God lays before me gave me the strength to muster my courage. To go back out through the crowds to my husband and two daughters waiting for me. My little bit of Heaven on Earth. My saving grace until we are all together again, on the other side of the stars.