I love flying into Entebbe in the dark. The world is black apart from small blinking lights on the wings of the airplane. The ground and the sky are blended and inseparable. You wonder when you will feel the skidding of wheels on the asphalt, but then you look down again and beneath you you see small flames tucked into the hillsides. Around them you know there are families preparing their dinner.
In nineteen months much changes, and much doesn't. Uganda is a familiar friend. The smells, the sights, the sounds are all as I remember. But little things happen. New signs. New shops. New buildings. I am getting reacquainted.
It is the same with the children. I still recognize each one of them. But the little girls have become big girls and the big girls have become little women. Joan, Janet, Teddy are all curved now. And Joyce, my little monkey, grew seven inches. I caught my breath at the first glimpse of her kicking the soccer ball across the yard. A tall, muscular creature now lumbers over the dusty ridges of Ranch. I wanted my little scampering child, but instead I must learn to love the woman she is quickly becoming.
Yesterday was a day of binding up, of rediscovering connection and love. Of conversations and embraces. The dearest part of being gone so long is the joy of reuniting. Maurice held me tight, almost as if to keep me from ever leaving again. Agnes lunged and knocked me backwards in her joy. Too long, they all told me. Too long, mommy!
Yes. Too, too long. How can I leave them? How can I ever leave them again? The thought of goodbyes is terrible.
But even as I considered a future parting with my children, my body, so quietly and quickly was making a goodbye of it's own.
After a long day of beautiful hellos I returned to our room covered in dust. I hurried to the kindness of a shower and as I stood under its soothing warmth I watched as blood red hopes swirled around and around my feet sinking down deep into the Ugandan drain.
I have known since Monday. I knew when there were no symptoms. No nausea. No exhaustion. I knew. The blood Wednesday night confirmed it. Then yesterday it was finished.
I sobbed into the cold tile of our tiny bathroom, but layered between the sadness there was something deeper. There was gratitude. In an answer to my earnest prayer I found mercy.
In November my OBGYN slipped me a card for a fertility specialist. I hesitated. Our insurance is so basic. It could cost a lot, and I wasn't convinced that my repeat miscarriages were anything apart from a unique tragedy. I asked God to make it clear and show me what I needed to do.
In a matter of weeks I was pregnant again. And before six weeks had even passed the baby was gone in the most painless way. I never felt sickness. I never felt tired. I didn't have to wait anxiously for weeks on end. I didn't suffer. He allowed this all to happen in the place where my heart is happiest. A place where I can wake in the morning and gaze out across the lushness and warmth of a sun soaked garden. Where the wind from the lake makes everything cool and light. Where my little girl chases monkeys and laughs as we drive along the bumpy roads. I am with those who love me most and who I treasure beyond anyone. For all the sadness wringing my heart, it cannot overcome the true joyfulness I feel in my Uganda.
My loss was tenderly wrapped in grace. My answer has been made clear in the gentlest way.
I woke this morning sore, tired, heavy...but hopeful. Within this day I have purpose, those who need my love now. Their hands and smiles and embraces are real. There is much to accomplish, so my heart forces my body forward. I am full. I am bright. I am grateful.
And soon I will write more.