Going to the airport is almost worse than going to Walmart. Thankfully I have only been there twice since March of this year.
I will probably always find the memory triggers and what-if triggers at Walmart. The Barbie/doll aisle still makes me take a wistful glance, and then look the other way. The candles still beckon me to smell them but there’s no muffin who begs to sniff them too. The lobsters at the seafood counter don’t have a little Jenna to visit with anymore. I can’t pose at the check-out counter, while Jenna takes my picture with the little princess cameras on display, and tells me how beautiful I am, anymore.
But I have gone to Walmart umpteen times since February this year and I am no longer compulsively pulling out the toddler seat in the shopping cart for Jenna to sit on. I don’t stop at the little girls’ shoe displays anymore. I press on, and do my shopping, with the inevitable thoughts of Jenna my familiar companion. It really isn’t as bad as it was in the beginning, now. I am used to it.
I am not used to going to the airport. I am not used to walking that same route down to Departures where the little muffiny dragged her multi-colored suitcase behind her until she got tired, and her brother pitched in to help.
I am not used to hanging around in that same Departures hall where we had lingered on the rocking chairs, unwilling to say goodbye to the half of our family that was staying behind in America. As I sat there today, unwilling to say goodbye to my mom, I remembered that we were in the very spot where Jenna’s daddy and two of her brothers saw her alive for the last time.
The boys were emotional today. Being at the airport made them miss Jenna too.
This is the last picture Jenna’s daddy took of her:
She was off on a real journey, alright. And we are on a very different journey ourselves, as a result. It is a strange journey, and one I don’t wish on anyone. Still, it is a journey that has forced us to dig deep and to find those wells of living water that God promises to sustain his people with. I can honestly say, right now, that there has been much good and much fruit on this journey already. I anticipate the future with hope. I know God is doing something eternal in our lives.
Until we see you again, muffiny…
We will celebrate the journey.