The few hours we spent at the hospital were a blur. We were escorted to a separate treatment room, where Sarah was brought to us on a stretcher, covered to her neck in a white sheet. I touched her cheek, but dared not pick her up. I don't know why; perhaps I was already distancing myself from the pain, refusing to acknowledge it's intensity. Family had begun to arrive and each hugged us, some wept. All stayed by us. I remember everyone sitting in chairs and softly talking; soft giggles or conversations about other things emerging as time went on. I stood next to Sarah, my hand on her, as if my job of guardian and protector had not yet ended. I watched as the look of death began to overtake her, and seeing her this way became harder and harder to bear. The nurses would check in from time to time to see if we were ready to "let her go". I knew what this meant as well. It meant someone would wrap her up and take her to the morgue, a place I had been numerous times while working as a nurse. It was a dark place, and bodies were put on cold steel trays and slid into a cooler. It was creepy. Who in their right mind would want to put their baby there? Who would allow such a thing? Yet I knew this was what had to happen. I knew it, but I didn't like it.
I continued to delay the inevitable as long as I felt I could. I knew in my heart that Sarah wasn't with us anymore, and that she was no longer inside this shell of a body I looked at and lovingly caressed. I knew she was already in heaven, free from the body that had kept her confined; free from the disease which had attacked and killed her.
The time came, and I tearfully acknowledged that they could take her. It was one of the most painful, difficult moments of my life. I was her mother; the one who was to protect her and keep her safe, and now I was handing her over to the grave.
Someone in the family gave us a ride back to our apartment, and it wasn't long before the house was full of family and food. I sat in a chair and passively watched as others milled about the room, filling plates with food and talking with one another. Someone brought me a plate with food, but I had no appetite. Our senior Pastor and his wife showed up at some point, and offered words of comfort. I was numb. Then I was sick. The stress of the day, and the emotional toll, all caught up with me, and I began to feel physically ill. Nauseated and exhausted, I went off to the bedroom. Gradually our family went home, realizing our need to be alone and rest. God bless our family....they know how to love each other.
The first few days were a blur. Funeral plans, picking out flowers, music, a casket. The funeral itself was nice, I think. There were a lot of people who came to show their love for us, and it was greatly appreciated. By this time, I had become a rock. I knew she was in heaven, a "better" place; I knew she was more God's than mine, and He had every right to take her back without question; God was good, and this was okay. I didn't get angry; I didn't question God. After all, it wasn't right for a good Christian girl to question God. In fact, I had been told it was wrong to question God. So I didn't.