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I have so much to share with you – about driving past the site of the accident for the first time, about today being the four month anniversary of Kalkidan going to heaven, of how tears are so close today…but what I’m going to tell you about is the fun we had yesterday with our kids. The other topics can wait a day or two.

Eby turns ten this Thursday and that’s a big birthday in our family. We always celebrate as a family, but the kids get a party when they turn five, ten, and fifteen. Thursday is packed with school and family events, and I couldn’t figure out how to even squeeze in a family dinner. Instead, yesterday we rented a room at a local hotel and celebrated poolside.

yellow daffodils from Beza and an orange mug to remember Kalkidan

yellow daffodils from Beza and an orange mug to remember Kalkidan

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coffee with a friend while kids played – it’s been awhile

great hand-me-down baseball cleats for both boys

the view from our backyard

the view from our backyard

Thank you for your kind and supportive words as I share the story of the accident and our loss of Kalkidan. I’ve written the next section, but I want Russ to read it before I publish – while I’m writing only my memories, I need to be sure that I’m telling it as well as I can.

Yesterday Russ and Beza left on a quick trip to Seattle for a medical appointment at Children’s. While there they picked up some great patio furniture a friend is passing to us as they prepare to move to a new home. Funny thing is, we don’t have a patio. We’ve long dreamed of building one, but it hasn’t made it to the top of our list.

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Last summer Kalkidan, Claire (Sunshine), and Eden made a bucket list. They were so excited that Kalkidan was coming home and they had big plans – lots of big plans.

This friendship goes way back – all the way back to the beginning. In fact, I was at Eden’s birth and I like to tell her that she was such a cute baby that I couldn’t resist having one more of my own – so God gave me Claire. They’ve been like sisters more than friends, and thankfully, Eden’s mom, Signe is one of the people I love most in the world.

michele and girls

Over the years I’ve written many times about my very dear friend, Michele, whom my kids affectionately call Aunt Michele. There is so much I want to say, but I’m struggling for words today. I’ll let Michele’s tribute from the memorial service speak for itself.

I would first like to thank Russ and Lisa and the rest of the Qualls family for inviting me to speak and offer this remembrance of Kalkidan. It is a distinct honor and privilege and I am very grateful. I would also like to take a moment and thank Russ and Lisa and the rest of their family for the tremendous sacrifices which they have made over the last years to provide for Kalkidan. God has seen all you have done and I am confident that He is pleased.

As I have been thinking about what I would like to say, my mind kept composing a letter to Kalkidan, so that is what I would like to share with you now.

Dear Kalkidan,

Well, here we are – most of your favorite people, all gathered in one place to celebrate your life and remember you. I am sure that that makes you happy. And if you were not in a wholly better place right now I am sure you would like to be here with us. You have always loved parties and celebrations, and just being with people. It is one of your many endearing qualities.

 

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Lord, We fall to our knees before the Wounded Healer
who cups His hands to catch every falling tear & sparrow & heart
in His palms that have our names engraved right into Him
far deeper than any of earth’s sorrow.
We pray tonight in the name of Him of who catches everything falling
so we don’t fall apart…so we are held. Amen. [Ann Voskamp]

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my sister, Laura, who spent a week caring for us

my physical therapist who is helping my body heal

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This is what I’ve read every morning since I’ve been well enough to pick up my Bible and hold it in my hands.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height  nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38-39

Three Sisters

I could make a stack of albums titled, “Kalkidan’s Cute Moments.” As you know, there were plenty of hard moments, but we didn’t take pictures of those. We aren’t rewriting history, we’re just savoring the precious, joyful times with her. Her smile was amazing.

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Well friends, it’s early on Christmas Eve morning and I suspect I won’t get back here until all of the festivities are over. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas.

Last night we realized that our water storage tank is nearly empty, which means there is a problem with the pump in our well, or something in our house isn’t working. This means: no showers, flushing toilets only when necessary, and minimizing water consumption. Talk about bad timing. Russ is going to call the well people this morning and see if they can come out, but it’s Christmas Eve, so I suspect it will be costly. Sad!

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Advent goes best when I keep my expectations low – that’s actually true of all holidays at our house. We’re one day behind on our Jesse Tree and Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas, and nearly a week behind on Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent. But it doesn’t matter one bit because Advent is a time to anticipate the coming of Jesus, so simply enjoying the celebration is enough.

We’ve come up with a good rhythm. On school mornings, we gather at the table at 7:30 and read Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. The kids take turns adding an ornament to our Jesse Tree, which is a gangly  and rather large branch off a bush in our backyard. I found a tall, square vase at Ross and filled it with ornaments (Katie’s idea) and small white lights. Katie put it together one Sunday and we’ve enjoyed it every day since.