When I Saw Harlynn: A Visit

In light of the recent tragedies that have befallen our community, my heart is broken for more bereaved parents. Parents who, like my husband and I, have to spend the rest of their lives missing the biggest pieces of their hearts. There is no pain like losing your child. No matter your age as a parent, no matter the age of your children, when they leave this earth before you do there is no greater loss.

In the midst of this heartache, I wanted to post about the time I saw Harlynn several months after I had delivered her younger brother. Even while our hearts will never be what they once were, and as grief swallows us whole some of our remaining days, there are moments we experience hope and wonder unlike any other. This story is about one of those moments.

When I Saw Harlynn-

It was Friday night, November 7th, 2014. I was lying in bed, unable to sleep due to mastitis. Eyes closed, mind restless, I was wanting to just fall asleep and get over the fever, and the immense physical pain.

There in the dark, everything turned orange – glowing, almost. The room became a corridor of sorts; a main hallway branching off into other hallways. Around the corner, from the right, walked a man with dark, long hair past his shoulders, and a dark goatee. He was wearing a long trench coat, and boots. He had two swords strapped in an X across his back.

And he was holding Harlynn’s hand. I knew, right away, it was her. Looking to be about the age of three, she had blonde, curly hair, the top sides of which were pulled back with purple bows. She looked so much like her big sister, Little Miss. She was wearing a white dress, white shoes, and a big, adorable smile.

Our eyes met. “Mommy!” I was able to run up to her and kneel down. I could touch her. I hugged her. I cupped her face in my hands. She didn’t let go of the man’s hand. He was her guardian. He was there to protect her.

Wherever we were, this corridor, was some sort of intermediary “common” ground. We weren’t alone there. Scurrying around behind me, were hissing demons, trying to scratch and snatch at us. Every time one ran past, a flame would shoot up from the floor to deter it from reaching us. It was both a glorious and dreadful reunion.

I turned Harlynn around so she wouldn’t have to see them running about, though she didn’t seem bothered by their presence at all. I held her hands. Her dainty shoulders. I looked into her blue eyes – so much like her brother’s eyes look today.

In a conversation style advanced beyond her toddler appearance, she told me she always had fun. She wanted me to know everything was as wonderful as I had hoped it would be for her. She told me she loved us, she knew her little brother, and she thought he was pretty cute. She wanted to play with her big sister. She loved her daddy. I asked her if she knew how much we loved her. She nodded, and giggled.

I wanted to stay forever, there with her.

Eventually, the orange glow around me started to flicker. I looked up at the man, and knew the flickering meant my time was up. I asked him, “Can’t I stay?” He shook his head no and took a step with Harlynn. She threw her arms around my neck and said, cheerfully, “It’s okay, Mama. We’ll see each other again.” I hugged her tight. Too tight. I didn’t want to let go. The orange started to dim quickly, despite my protests. Harlynn and the man walked away, retreating back around the corner, and everything went back to black.

I reluctantly blinked my eyes. My fever was overshadowed by the stinging wet tears streaming down my face. I still don’t know whether they were tears of sorrow or joy. If one is capable of crying tears of both those emotions at the same time, that’s what they would have been.

I hope I never forget her smile. Her voice. I hope I get to see and hear her many times over until it’s time to meet up forever. But if I don’t, I’m thankful I had this one time.

I pray every bereaved parent gets at least one time.

We love and miss you, Harlynn. Every moment of every day.

And to the other bereaved parents: I can’t imagine or understand your grief, though I carry it along with you. For all the words I don’t have to speak into your situation, I offer up prayers for you. I offer up love. And I offer up partnership so you don’t feel alone.