Homecoming can be defined or felt many different ways. To some it means the big football game in the fall when all the school's alumni gather together at the game and then the current students celebrate at a dance later that night or the next night. To a newly married couple, it may mean when the groom carries his new bride over the threshold into the home they will now share. To a soldier and his family, it may mean when the soldier returns home and is welcomed with open arms by his family and loved ones. To new parents, it may mean when they bring their newborn child home from the hospital.
For those of you who may not know, 2 weeks ago, my cousin Patty was rushed to the hospital after falling unconscious at home. Patty was 8 months pregnant, and when she arrived at the hospital, baby Emily was delivered via C-section. She weighed 3 lbs and 15 oz. She joined her 6 yr old brother Johnny and 3 yr old sister Maggie and became Patty and her husband Ditty's 3rd child. Such a little girl has become such a big part of her family's life already.
Patty was found to have suffered from a brain aneurysm, and she never regained consciousness and never got to open her eyes to see her baby girl and her arms to hold her. But Patty opened her heart. She opened her heart by giving Emily life, she opened her heart by being the kind of person that touched everyone she met, she opened her heart by leaving people smiling as they remember her, and she opened her heart by donating her organs and giving the gift of life to others. She also opened her heart to Jesus, and because of that, she is now in Heaven with her eyes open and her arms open as she dances and sings with the angels.
And I imagine she was dancing today and smiling as she watched her husband bring their baby home. Today is Homecoming, homecoming for a little girl who has fought to gain the weight she needed to gain in order to join her daddy and her brother and sister at home, for a little girl who has been the smiles amid the tears, and who has given so much love at a time when there is so much sadness.
Yes, today is Homecoming. Welcome Home, baby Emily.