The cottage had the comfortable feeling of a large family home. Bookcases loaded with books, shelves piled with games, and comfortable furniture, all felt familiar to me. Dimples’ room was much larger than I had expected and my worry that we had packed too much for her was quickly replaced with the wish that we had brought more familiar things from home. I wondered if at one time children had shared rooms, so that now, with only one child per room, the space was large.
Her bed was made with a colorful quilt, a fleece blanket folded at the foot. I had packed Dimples’ pillow and special fleece blankets from home, so I asked that we leave hers rather than the ones they provided. Her weighted blanket was folded on a shelf for times when she wants it.
We unpacked her clothes, labeling things before putting them in her dresser or on closet shelves. The books and art supplies I had packed looked minimal on the empty shelves. All valuable or potentially harmful things (colored pencils, craft supplies) were placed in her special drawer in the counselors’ office. Samuel had loaded her mp3 player with music she likes (and we like), and it was also safely stowed there for her to use when permitted. A large bulletin board running the length of a wall was empty, waiting for drawings, photos, letters, and other things Dimples would choose to display.
Soon Dimples arrived with her therapist. We looked at her room together, took a little tour of the cottage, and then it was time to say goodbye. Russ and I embraced Dimples between us and prayed for her. Russ began, but quickly became too choked up to speak, so then I prayed – I asked Jesus to watch over and protect her, to be the mighty healer who can heal our deep hurts and heal our minds, and I ended with the blessing, “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you, and give you peace.” It wasn’t enough, not nearly enough, but in the moment, it was all I could say.
We hugged her and kissed the top of her head (she refused a kiss on the cheek), and then she walked away. She left to return to the classroom with her therapist and we prepared for the long drive home.
As we said goodbye to Dimples’ case manager and headed out the door, Russ got choked up and I kissed him hard on the cheek, whispering, “It’s okay. We’re okay.” Holding hands, we walked to the car, where we sat for a few moments before finally driving away. The sadness was deep, the heartbreak that it had all come to this was crushing, yet intermingled with those feelings was a sense of peace. God had brought us to this moment, and this place, and we had to trust him.