I was feeling Robin's head for her soft spot a few days ago, and suddenly I was back there again, seven years ago. Sitting in the neurologist's office and hearing him say that all he could see through SB's soft spot was water. Going to the CAT scan. Getting the results from the pediatrician. It all came flooding into my mind, overwhelming my senses like a storm in the dark.
I wonder what the pediatrician thought when she looked at me, sitting across from her. So young. Naive. Lost, and so incredibly in love with this little girl. I sat there cradling SB, a year old at the time but small and weak, my mom sitting next to me. "She has no brain," the doctor repeated, looking over the scans. "You should take her back to the orphanage." I'd fought two governments to hold her in my arms, and now this horrible diagnosis. No, it wasn't going to end that way.
My husband rarely speaks of SB, but today he told Raccoon that he'd had an older sister. Then he said that the worst thing for him is that she was alone when she died. We were there every day, every minute of her life for over a year. Then it was a Thursday and we knew that something wasn't right, but the children's hospital said she was fine and sent us home. Friday night I'd arranged for respite, the first time ever, at the orphanage where we'd found her. Just one night. My husband refused to go with me to drop her off, but stubbornly I persisted. We had sacrificed so much, it wouldn't hurt for us to take one night for ourselves, right? I almost didn't leave her there. I knew they wouldn't understand her like I did. I stood there crying, watching her on the rug. A visiting volunteer came up to me and said, "It's okay to leave her," and she prayed with me. Then I left.
It was only supposed to be 15 hours, but it ended up being forever. She died the next morning, early. A worker checked on her and said she felt cold, then she was gone the next time she looked. Did SB feel abandoned, did she think we took her back, did it break her heart before she died that I left her there, alone? This haunts us. I wasn't sure my husband would ever forgive me.
Back at the beginning, I remember the day the U.S. embassy denied her visa. She and I had been through so much already. I couldn't belive it. What was the meaning of this? I was more than heartbroken. I sat at home, holding her and listening to a song called "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt. I cried and cried, asking God what in the world I was supposed to do. I wasn't exactly on good terms with Him at the time, and I didn't have the right to ask Him anything since my life was such a mess of sin, but I begged Him anyway. Please, please let me have her. And He did, my merciful Lord, full of love for me even when I was so far away from Him. I think He knew that I would pour out my life for her, like a love offering on the altar.
I found the song on YouTube and listened to it as I held Robin in my arms. It's funny how much emotion can be contained in a few words and some music. After it finished, I saw a link to another song by James Blunt. He sings of knowing someone so completely, then losing them and how it changed him. I listened to this song a year after SB died, knowing that I was going to lose N and J too. Although a totally different situation from the song, I shared similar feelings of loss and regret and pain. The tears poured down my face, then and now.
So tonight, I just wanted to tell all four of my girls -
You're beautiful, it's true.