I thought I was OK. I was handling it well. I told myself those very things all day last Tuesday. It was Sarah's last day with us before returning to Canada. I kept saying, "this is the last Christmas break where we will have to say goodbye for so long" or "this is the last time she will leave and go so far away to live (I hope!)". On her last weekend here she even drove with us on the 3 hour trip to take Rachel back to school. It was nice to spend the time with her alone in the car. On her last few days I took her shopping and running errands she wanted to get done before leaving the states. On Tuesday Dee took the morning off for a doctor's visit and the afternoon off so we could all go see a movie together. We chose "War Horse". It was a good movie, beautifully done, but very emotional. Dee went off to afternoon swim practice after giving Sarah a beautiful father's blessing and left me to the dreaded task of taking our girl to the airport. Nick and Brittany came with me so I wouldn't be alone, but as I drove north on I-15 I began to feel the gloom creeping in. I got behind a few frustrating drivers and the annoyance with them set me off.(Really, where else but in Utah would you find someone in the passing lane doing 60 mph?) The tears started rolling down my face in the dark. Nobody knew I was slowly falling apart.
By the time we parked and got to the Delta check-in desk my face and nose were all red and tear-stained. My kids were empathetic and worried about me but I assured them I would be fine.
I stepped back from the baggage check desk, not wanting to be so conspicuous, but could not stop my tears! While Sarah raised her hands in the air celebrating the fact that her suitcase was only 47 pounds, she had really worried about that 50 lb. limit, I moved further away. At that point I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard a kind voice say, "Would you like to go through Security and to the gate with her?" I turned to see the sweet face of another desk agent. She had seen my emotions and told me she had a soft heart for crying mothers. It really didn't register with me because my head was telling me that I could NOT go through security unless I was a passenger. "Oh no, I can't do that and I'll be OK. I just need to get it out of my system," I assured her." I apologized for being so emotional and explained that I only got to see Sarah twice a year and it was always hard to say goodbye. She told me that I could indeed go through security. They were not busy at all and she could print up a pass for all of us. I again said I would be fine but Brittany stepped up and said, "We'll take those passes. Mom, get your license out." Yes Ma'am! As Karen, the Delta agent checked whether or not we were on some terrorist watch-list she told us that she was a mother and understood my emotional state. She said that she had lost her oldest child and couldn't bear seeing mothers cry. Whenever possible, she said, she tried to do what she could to help.
Before we knew it we were going through TSA's security check. Sarah breezed through the metal detector while the rest of us got to go through the full body scan. There was nothing to it! It was like standing in a big circular shower stall. I really never thought twice about the fact that somewhere in the airport somebody was viewing an image of my bare behind or all of my fat rolls! Nick had to get a pat down because his cargo pants' zippers set of the alarms, but soon we were all four on our way to Sarah's gate. We spent the next hour with her eating pizza at S'barros' and visiting back at the gate. By the time the first class passengers were called to begin boarding I was feeling much better and not crying anymore! We kissed and hugged goodbye and bravely walked away, Britt and I only looking back once, catching Sarah doing the same thing! We all smiled and waved then marched bravely on.
I had Nick drive home as I was exhausted and am not seeing too well at night these days. I sat and thought about God's tender mercies and how He uses others to be His hands in loving and serving each of us. Thank you to Karen at Delta's baggage check desk at Salt Lake City International, for having a kind heart and acting on her instincts. Brittany sent an Email to Delta headquarters thanking them for Karen's compassion and her service to us. They responded the very next day and were glad to know one of their employees was doing her job with such high standards of customer care. They told Brittany they would forward the Email to SLC so they would know of our gratitude. Somehow I think Karen already knows.