Thursday, January 19, 2012

saying goodbye to tripp

Well, I'm back home after one of the most difficult yet beautiful trips I've ever taken. Matt took me to the airport at 5:30 yesterday morning. I asked Matt to pray for me before I left. So he did.

And then I burst into tears.

I only had to wait a little while at my first gate, and so I caught up on Google Reader. I read this post by my friend Jen.

And then I burst into tears.

My flights were both on time and getting my rental car was fast and easy. I hadn't checked any luggage because I knew I wouldn't have time to wait on it, so I was out of the airport pretty quickly. I got my car and hit the highway. And immediately got stuck in stand still traffic. Instead of panicking, I called my sister and let her distract me. Thankfully it was just a right lane closure, so the slow down only lasted a couple miles and I was on my way. It was a 45 minute drive to Ponchatoula, and as soon as I got to town, I started seeing red balloons and ribbons on all the store fronts.

And then I burst into tears.

I got to the church at about 11:45 Louisiana time, reapplied my makeup, and went in. Lots of people knew me, even if I didn't know them, so I never felt awkward or alone. Except when some of them said it was like they were meeting a celebrity and that I was an inspiration. Then I felt awkward. And extremely humbled and undeserving. (Am I really still dooping you guys after all this time?) Courtney's Aunt Linda was one of the first people I met, and she immediately busted me through the (very long) line to meet Courtney.

And I finally got to hug my Best Friend I Had Never Met.

And then I burst into tears.

Y'all. Courtney is amazing. She is everything you would imagine her to be and a million times more. She  is the most loving, sacrificial, caring, and courageous person I've ever met. She is exactly who I've known she was all along. And I hugged her a hundred times and told her how many people had asked me to love on her on their behalf.

She got up and spoke at the funeral and it was one of the most amazing, raw, vulnerable, honest, loving things I've ever had the privilege to hear. She was amazing.

And then I burst into tears.

The church was packed, and the mass lasted about an hour. We then drove to the cemetery. Along the way, there were folks dotted along the streets, wearing red and holding signs for Tripp.

And then I burst into tears.

They laid Tripp to rest in the local cemetery.

We prayed together and then headed over to the Knights of Columbus building for a reception (sounds like the wrong word). Anyway, I got to sit beside Courtney and really got to talk to her, Stephen, her sister, Tim, and some others in Courtney's family. The Delgados got to come too, so I got to meet Vanessa's husband and daughter for the first time, and I got to spend some short but sweet time with Vanessa. I've really really missed her.
She and her husband have their court date on February 2nd to adopt a little boy with EB. We hope he'll be home by late February or early March. I also finally got to meet Sam Sheridan, another EB friend, and her mom Marybeth. The whole trip was just so bittersweet. I'm so thankful to have gotten to spend time with so many wonderful people, but of course it was a sad reason to be together.

After the reception, I went and checked into my hotel and changed clothes and then went and spent the rest of the evening with Courtney and her family. I will treasure those hours forever. They meant more to me than I could possibly say. Courtney has such an amazing network of family and friends loving and supporting her, and I was so thankful to get to meet them all in person. I finally tore myself away around 9:30, went to the hotel, spent about 30 minutes with the front desk lady trying to figure out my door lock malfunction (don't ask), and finally got into bed. I woke up at 4:00 this morning, left my hotel at 5:00, and made my 7:00 flight no problem.

As a surprise to me, Jonah came with Daddy to get me at the airport (I thought he was going to stay at the house with Granny). I can't really describe how it felt to have him waiting there for me, yelling "Mommy!" to me as I came down the escalator. He hugged me so tight and said, "MOMMY! You're home!" I'm so thankful for his little life, but I don't understand why some kids live and some kids die. Some kids do alright, and some kids suffer so much. I don't know that it's guilt I feel, but it's just hard, if that makes any sense. I just ACHE for Courtney.

I was SO tired. Between the grieving, not sleeping well for a couple nights before I left, getting up at 4 something both mornings, crying all day yesterday, and traveling on four planes in 24 hours, I was worn out. I came home, fed Jonah lunch, let him play with his "surprise" I bought for him at the airport, and then we both took a two hour nap.

I am so so so very thankful to have gotten to go and thankful to Matt (who had to take off work) and his mom for taking such good care of Jonah. I love my people. Please keep praying for Courtney and Anita (her mom) and all of the friends and family who loved Tripp so very much. This is a long, hard road.

And thank you all for the prayers you said for me. I felt every. single. one.

No comments: