We flew home that night very late. I was a little concerned because a huge snow storm had come in and we were nervous of them delaying our plane. We made it on and took off. The plane left on time.
I had a knot in my stomach the whole way home. It's like I knew the inevitable was coming. We were headed back home, back to our house, back to our life. A life that no longer would have Madeline present. A life that was not at all what I thought it would be. The distractions were gone. No more Disney magic. No more vacation. This was it, back to my real life, my new normal. I didn't even know what that was...
As the plane took off, I took a gulp. How would I be able to do this. I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to live a life without my girl. I didn't want to go home and see all her things around the house, completely untouched, never used. It was like I was still in a dream and this whole thing never happened. I just didn't want to face it.
But, I had to.
As we got closer to landing, the ride was bumpy. I remember not even being scared but just thinking to myself, if something were to happen, I'm ready. I'm ready to go see my Lord. I'm ready to hold my girl.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this because I want to die. I don't. I want to live and love life with my family and enjoy many years to come.
It's just been so fresh on my mind that we DO NOT KNOW when our last breath will be. We DO NOT KNOW if we have a tomorrow.(James 4:14) I never imagined that my precious perfect girl would have left this world just 2 days after entering this world. How could I have? Who would've thought that?
So, what I mean was, if it was the Lord's timing on that plane ride, it just was. I wasn't scared. I know where I am going and I hope that each of you know too. It's a hard thing to understand that we do have "an appointment with death" and to be completely honest I hate that thought. I miss Madeline so very much. I cry for her everyday of my life, but God wanted her and it was her time, as short of a time as she had, it just was. Now I know that and understand.
As we walked off the plane, I was glad. We made it! Through crying babies and little girl screaming "Daddy" the last 10 minutes of the flight, we made it. I've never seen Rick so relieved to step off a plane and I was too. My cheeks were completely stained from crying and Rick was completely overwhelmed with the events leading up to our landing. Finally, almost home.
We gathered our luggage, packed the car and started driving. Rick and his Dad talked of our trip and I sat in the back and watched Noah and Eli fall asleep. They were exhausted from a week of complete joy. I was so thrilled for them.
Once we pulled in at home, Rick carried the boys to their beds and we headed for ours. It was around midnight at this time and we were exhausted. Rick had laid a pile of letters on the bed and we slowly started to read them. Card after card, we cried. At one point I told him maybe doing this before we went to sleep was a bad idea. He reminded me that these cards had not been sent to upset us and make us cry, Rather they were sent to us to let us know how much we were loved. He was right. We are loved. So very loved.
I've never experienced such an outpouring of love like this before. Everyone cared for us, hurt with us and was completely heartbroken too.
We still are receiving letters, every day. I'm so very thankful for that.
So I reached down and picked a card up and began to open it. I couldn't believe what I saw next...
The card had a picture of Maddie Grace looking up at me. It was the one taken right after they placed her in my arms. Her eyes were bright with new life and she was looking right at me.
Oh, I loved that moment. <3 I have taken myself back there so many times.
Madeline's name and birth stats were on the bottom of the card and a little blue bird. I began to read...
"Held only a moment in our arms...But forever in our hearts!"
"Oh it's hard to lose a loved one to the grave,
but we have the blessed hope that Jesus gave.
God's gonna wipe all the tears from our eyes,
when we meet him beyond the skies.
Heaven's sounding sweeter all the time.
Seems like lately it's always on my mind.
Someday I'll leave this world behind,
Heaven's sounding sweeter all the time.
I held the card in my hand and just wept. What a beautiful thought. What a beautiful card. I was so very thankful for Amy sending it, and so thankful that I knew... Rick held me that night and we both cried out to God thanking him that Maddie was home.
She wasn't in our home that we had prepared for her, but instead in her Heavenly home with the Lord... She was home.
Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. Psalm 73:25-26