Three months ago I wrote Remembering Moments Part 6. The series of posts was difficult for some of our family to read, so I stopped writing them for a time; I’m ready to finish now. Seven months have passed since the accident, and memories fade with time, so I’ll just share what I can recall in the simplest way I can.
In the week following the accident, I was struck by how amazing our adult children were as we made decisions and coped with all that needed to be done. In what feels like a very short time, they had become young adults and now they were operating in their gifts.
Hannah managed my medical care and stayed by my side, helping me shower, eat, and later, get to medical appointments. Mimi wrote Kalkidan’s obituary for the paper and worked with Isaiah on a slide show for the service.
Noah and Katie, and Samuel helped Russ with many practical tasks and were a great comfort to the younger children. Isaiah and Annarose planned the music for the service and worked with members of our worship team to prepare.
I was shielded from most of the details, but from time to time, I had to help make a decision. We had to choose clothes from Kalkidan to be dressed in for the viewing. Someone in the family picked out a long, bright purple sweater that was a favorite, leggings, neon earrings, and a colorful headband. It was just right.
Decisions about the program for the memorial service were made. The funeral home offered to make small memory cards to be given to guests. The older kids chose a picture of Kalkidan from a hike they had taken a year or more earlier. Below it we added the prayer we pray aloud with the kids each morning.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (the Jesus Shema)
I love that prayer, and I still love the cards seven months later.
I continued to live in the recliner in our family room, getting up only to go to the bathroom. I wasn’t allowed to put any weight on my right leg, so I used a walker to make it the dozen or so steps. We didn’t know yet that I had a fracture in my left shoulder; bearing weight on my arm must have increased the pain I had.
The pain in my right hip was extreme. The nerves had been damaged and the slightest touch was enough to take my breath away and make me want to drop to my knees.
The pain in my heart was jumbled with confusion, the need to comfort the children, sleep, and physical pain. Sometimes I just felt numb. I’m sure the pain medication contributed to my emotional state.
I think the viewing was on Tuesday or Wednesday. I was dreading it so much; it felt like too much to ask. But I knew the children needed closure – they needed to say goodbye.
I told everyone that we were going be casual – no dressing up, no stress. It was only our family and a few very close friends; nobody cared what we looked like. I could only wear yoga pants (which continued to be the case for the next four months due to the hip injury), and I have no idea what I wore on my feet.
I think it was cold and there was snow on the ground. Russ warmed up the van and somehow managed to get me downstairs and through the garage in the wheelchair. I remember thinking that it was strange to be outside again. The sky was so bright. The roads looked the same, but we were not the same. I felt like a stranger, and observer, as we drove to the funeral home.