Is it stupid of me that I didn't think it would be this hard? Yesterday we went to southern Maine to visit my friend who is dying. We brought the girls as well, wanting them to have a chance to say good bye. It was strange, though. They had brought a bunch of stuff that they wanted to show her (new dolls, schoolwork, artwork, etc.) but when we got there, they got busy playing with her stuffed animal pile and looking at her books. Although they said hi and were talking to her a little bit, the girls seemed intimidated by her--scared to touch her. I'm sure this is perfectly normal behavior for a 7 and 5 yo. (Evan was there too, but clearly he doesn't understand what is going on.)
When it was time to go, I was helping the girls use the bathroom before getting back into the car and Erin said, "It seems strange to say goodbye. Are we really not going to see her again?" I could kind of see her brain trying to wrap itself around this very real situation. When I told her that no, she wouldn't see her again, Erin ran into the living room and gave her a big hug. Then she simply waved and went out the door, saying, "Bye! I love you!" Megan followed suit, albeit a bit more slowly. My friend, by this point, was crying and I was trying unsuccessfully to hold it together. Both of us were suddenly struck by the intensity of our feelings. Here she was, sitting in bed, breathing in and out, having been an integral part of my oldest child's life, saying good bye to the little girl she loves so much and is never going to see grow up. The huge, gigantic, immense, unfairness of all of this just boggles my mind.
So then we left--I'll go back down next week, and the week after that and the week after that--for as long as I need to. But yesterday was when the finality of all of this really came through. And, as I have to be honest with myself, I'm not handling it very well. I guess I thought that since we have known for a while now that the end was coming, it would some how make it easier. I guessed wrong.