Goodbye Little Ladies, Goodbye
Their departures were uncannily similar. After all, the two little ladies shared some of the same genes and characteristics. It was as if I recalled an old movie, then watched an enhanced version with only subtle differences in cinematography.
Led away by caregivers, their little hands were dwarfed by the palms that encompassed them. Tiny in stature, they followed the dominant figures willingly.
A sundry set of emotions, ranging from melancholy and guilt to peace and contentment, moved through me simultaneously. It did then, and still does today.
I was both relieved and saddened that they accepted those around them with so much ease. At least they were not upset that I was saying goodbye – that made me feel just a little better.
Each, (clutching a soft, stuffed teddy bear in one hand), slowly walked away - one down a front sidewalk and the other down a hallway.
Their love was unconditional and their trust was undeniable. Reliance was not an option. It was compulsory. After all, they were little. They could not cope with life's demands on their own.
Their dark eyes seemed to peer upwards through their brow as each couldn't help but look up to those around them.
Their steps were not steady. Their walk was slow and methodical. They gathered reassurance from those that led.
The brief seconds of departure time seem more like hours when I reflect back. Their movements were not in slow motion, but dream-like never the less.
My good-bye kiss revealed skin as soft and smooth as silk - unlike the tanned rawhide found on my own frame. I hoped too, that my scratchy face wouldn't irritate their tender cheeks.
My good-bye hug was affectionate and strong, but I had to be careful not to injure either of them – never forgetting they were tiny and fragile.
Each moved her stuffed teddy bear under her arm to free a hand. The good-bye wave was the same - four fingers, in unison, repeatedly touching the palm – as only little people can do.
With no hesitation or embarrassment, I softly said, "Goodbye, I love you."
"I love you, too," replied the little ladies.
My oldest daughter, Amy was two years old at that time. I took her to the baby sitter's that morning and never forgot the experience.
She has twin daughters of her own now and they are about the same age as she (was) in this recollection. I have had the pleasure to chat or visit with her countless times in the last thirty four years, and I hope there will be many more opportunities to say hello and goodbye to her and her family.
July 19, 2006 was the last time I saw my mom up and around, and capable of walking on her own. I had walked her down the hallway to visit a physician in the personal care home where she was residing. I still visited her daily, but sadly, she passed away six days later.
Goodbye little ladies, goodbye – until we meet again.