I always believed that when Bethie went under anesthesia she was waiting with God to either enter into heaven or return to us here. I never believed she was just asleep. I believe she knew already what heaven was, not intimately, but enough to know that she was going somewhere better than here when it was her time. I believe this is the God we serve, a being who is with us in our most trying times, and I believe this is the place we are living for right now, a heaven that is beyond our wildest dreams. I believe she was chosen for there as soon as she was given to us. She was born for heaven. We all are, but she in a particular way, a way only those tiny souls who will enter soon are. I imagine it as we all have one foot in heaven while we are in utero, and her one foot never really left. At least a small part of her soul was always there, and so leaving us felt like returning to her true home and a place she already knew.
My proudest moment in life was when Bethie was dying. I stood at the bottom of her bed, holding her foot, telling her that we believed in her. We believed in her strength and we believed that she could accomplish anything, and we were there to fight with her. But I also told her that if she was tired of fighting, God was waiting, and he loved her even more than we did. I told her that I knew it sounded impossible because we loved her so much, but he did, and he was waiting if she was ready. We need her here; we love her with everything we have. That is how it felt, how it feels still, and how it will always feel in our aching hearts. But she is gone. And I am so thankful and so proud that she knew God loved her even more.
Bethie’s soul is in heaven. I know this in the way that only a parent who has lost their child can know. It’s not a question of believing or not believing in something – it is a fact. I need it to be true, and therefore it is true. It’s like God has given me a shortcut around the questions, the maybes, the long nights of doubt. I need God, and I need to know that our daughter is with him. I held her every day of her life here, and I need to know that someone is holding her still. It is God. And she is waiting for us with him.