It was that time. The end of the last day.We knew it was coming yet somehow no one talked about it. There was too much we wanted to do. The medical team needed to pack up the clinic. There were final nails to drive into the now-stable bunk beds and finish burning their trash...Or maybe that was the easy way out. Don't think about it and it won't hurt. Right? Like ripping off a band-aide. Stay busy and then just slip away unnoticed...
That certainly would have been easier for the heart. Fortunately that wasn't how it ended. In reality there were too many hugs to give. Too many last chance memories to make... My husband, the entertainer, pulled out his guitar and began singing silly camp songs even as the medical team finished packing up the clinic and a some of us drove in the last few nails. We all joined him as we finished our final tasks and began to partake in the festivities.
All the silliness was a bit of a distraction from what was about to come... Saying goodbye
. It was quickly turning dusk and we knew we should be heading towards the House of Hope to make it before nightfall. Yet none of us could begin to head that way.
The kids gathered together and sang "God be with you 'till we meet again". It was all in their Moskito language but the tune and the waving of their hands was undeniable. My heart wanted to stop. These beautiful children were wishing us well. They were sending us off with blessings. It was at that point I began to realize my heart was breaking.
Darkness was setting quickly yet none of us left. We posed for more pictures, we gave more hugs and played a few more bursts of tag. By this point we knew we weren't going to make it back by dark. Our friend, Alex called his guy with the dump truck again to take us back to the House of Hope. That bought us even more time as we waited for our ride.
However, I knew our time was running out and I knew that eventually I was going to have to officially say goodbye to Faviola (our sponsored daughter). It had been such an amazing few days getting to know her better, to love on her and spoil her with Cokes and granola bars. I loved learning her sweet, shy mannerisms. I loved seeing her grin each time I looked up from what I had been doing. She was shy but she was curious. She watched Adam and I, even the kids like she was trying to learn more about us too. I think at first she wasn't sure about us. Maybe she just wasn't sure how much we cared about her... by the end I am sure she knew she was special to us and that we cared for her and loved her deeply.
We asked Linda to translate our goodbye for us. We told her we loved her and that we were very proud of her. We encouraged her to continue to do well in school and go to church. We assured her we would be back to see her again and that we would send pictures and little gifts throughout the year.
I had lost it. I tried to pull myself together fearing I was freaking her out... but then... I felt it... her tears began to fall on my arm... Oddly enough this brought a sense of peace to me. Peace that she cared for us too. Peace that I wasn't crazy for loving this little girl. This peace also hollowed out a hole in my heart that only Faviola can fill.
This very moment I can feel the weight of those tears on my arm. I can hear the gentle sniffles. If I close my eyes I can feel her leaning into me. In that moment all seems well. In that moment I don't have to face the fact that she is our little girl who lives half a world away.
And just like that.. it was time to go... time to say goodbye for now.
Goodbye may seem forever
Farewell is like the end
But in our hearts a memory
And there you'll always be
-Fox and the Hound