My boss at work was kind enough to let me off a little early. With gave me some time to finish up a couple of his little gifts. So at 8:30 I clocked out and went to Kroger and got some really cute orange and white cupcakes with little baseballs on them. Elder C is an umpire back home, so I knew they would be perfect. I also made little origami missionary shirts and spelled out "Elder C" "See you later" "Thanks for everything" and "God be with you till we meet again" on them. The other little gifts I gave him were:
- A tie with little bikes on it. This was a joke, one of my friends who met with the Elders was obsessed with bike jokes, so when I saw the tie I laughed out loud and just HAD to get it. It was slightly torn so I got it for a good price too. And I was able to fix it ;) good as new.
- A bright blue tie. I literally stood looking at ties for an hour one day last week. It was a Monday so I was paranoid that a group of missionaries would come in the store because I've seen them there before. I was stuck between a few ties, but the blue one was my favorite and it was definitely the nicest tie there.
- A photo album labeled "Elder C's Allen First Ward Adventures" with as many pictures as I could print out in there. There were baptism pictures, missionary pictures, a couple silly pictures, all pictures I could find that related to him.
- A photo rock thing. I'm so blessed to have a daddy that can make these kinds of things for me. It's basically this picture printed on a rock. They're really pretty. I had my dad print my baptism picture on it, the one with Elder C, Elder Saenger and I on it.
Okay back to the story. I drove home to change out of my icky work uniform and grab the rock photo, then drove to my YW leader's house. She allowed me to say goodbye to Elder Christensen there, which was a huge blessing.
The Elders were a little late, but that was okay, I was running around Sister Fisher's house trying to wrap Elder C's last present and set up his cupcakes. They arrived right as I finished.
I held together pretty well, at the beginning at least. When he started opening presents is when the tears came. I was bawling by the time he opened his rock photo thing. Elder Payne recorded his reaction to the cupcakes, I don't really know his reaction because I was crying so much. Oops?
At the very end, though, I was sitting on the couch crying and the Elders were standing not too far from me. Sister Fisher was across the room and started talking about missionary transfers and how Elder C needs to go find the other Casey's of the TDM. I started crying pretty hard at that point so I didn't see, but later Sister Fisher told me that that's when Elder Christensen started to cry, too.
The Fishers took a picture with Elder C and invited me to join in, so I did. Red puffy eyes and all. Sister Fisher gave me a hug after the picture which made the crying start up all over again.
Basically I would calm down and stop crying then be crying hysterically 5 minutes later. It was such a bad night. It was hard to say goodbye to such a dear friend of mine. I admire every single mother that can let their little boys get on a plane and go to a foreign place for two years with minimal contact. I can't imagine how bad those goodbyes hurt. I'm just a little convert, I know that I wasn't hurting nearly as bad as Elder C's mom was. A mother's love for her missionary probably doesn't even come close to the convert's love for her missionary. At least I'll be slightly more prepared to say goodbye to my sons in the future right?
Anyway, I had calmed down again while the Fishers were talking to Elder C about some potential investigators. Once they finished, it was time for the Elders to leave. Brother Fisher came up and gave me a big hug and said "Here's your Elder Christensen hug." which, of course, made me start crying again. He shook everyone's hand. I feel kind of bad because I didn't say anything when he shook mine, I was trying to stop crying. They started to leave and Elder Payne yelled back "Bye Casey!" I said bye and then cried even more.
Going back to being grateful to be in Sister Fisher's home, she came up and hugged me. When Elder Saenger left, I was basically left to sit in my car and bawl my eyes out with no one to turn to. This time, I had my leader. This goodbye was so much harder, though. Elder C became one of my best friends. I mean, he was here for 9 months, how could we have not gotten close?
I stayed with Sister Fisher for a good 30-45 minutes and we talked about how good of a missionary Elder C is and how goodbyes are a part of life and stuff. I was calm when I left. I'm grateful for that.
I had a dream last night about my baptism. It was interesting because it was like I had gone back in time to December 15th at 5:30. It was a great dream. :) It reminded me of a lot of things.
I have a really bad habit of being a little closed off to new missionaries that come into the ward. When Elder Saenger left, they changed the phone signature to say <Elders P and C> instead of <Elders S and C> and I told Elder Christensen I didn't like it and he should change it back. I was having similar feelings this morning, but I realized that I need to give the new Elders a chance. They deserve it.
So I bucked up and told the Elders I'm ready to meet the new Elder. They were too booked today, but they promised me they would meet up with me tomorrow. I'm glad because that takes so much stress off me. I wonder how Elder C's doing with the new companion. I hope that he gets a companion who is as enthusiastic and excited about the gospel as he is. :)
I'm so grateful for that inspiring missionary. He's the best I've ever had.
Goodbye Elder C! God be with you till we meet again :)