Although today was a happy day, Luz was headed back to Peru, there were many tears. Yesterday, as they were packing many bags with clothing and gifts, Luz announced to everyone that when she leaves she did not want to see anyone crying. This, from a 5 year old little girl. If you have been following the entries in this blog since Luz arrived in Tampa, you are already aware that this kind of comment from Luz is not surprising. Her leaving also leaves a rather large hole in many hearts in the Tampa area.
Luz, whose name translated means 'Light', has been the light of our lives here in Tampa for the past nine weeks. If you did not have chance to visit with her, watch her, play with her, take her to the ice cream shoppe, shopping at Publix, the flea market, WalMart, you missed an opportunity that could very well remain with you forever. I know all of us here in Tampa as well as those we have met, through Luz, will not soon forget her. This is how we receive our compensation for all the work we put into this humanitarian work that we love. The best part is, Shriner's Hospital has accepted her as a patient as she grows and needs a new arm to match that growth. Over the next 13 years, we get to watch her grow and mature from a little five year old girl, playing with her "Dora the Explorer" doll into a young lady.
As we left for the drive to Tampa Airport, everyone was fine. We did our best to smile as kisses and hugs were passed to all who could not make the trip. Our little princess finally held back long enough and her tears flowed freely. She regained her composure and the rest of the day went well. Eli received a call from Hilmer that their plane to Lima was delayed in Miami but that they were finally ready to leave at 7:00 PM. When Eli and I got back to the house, Joanne was waiting for us. Gosh the place was quiet. Now, as I sit here and type this final entry into Luz' blog I think of the past nine weeks and how fast they seemed to pass. But our little girl will be back again next year, and we are already looking forward to it. I can't help but think of the words to a soft blues song by Joe Williams, the lyrics go like this: "Now she is gone and my heart is yearning, but a man ain't supposed to cry".