Caught in the Current

 

photo credit: samuel qualls
photo credit: samuel qualls

Life continues to feel slightly more normal. I’m getting stronger, sleeping better, and overall, having much less pain. It’s somewhat easier to leave the house and go out into the world. I’ve made it to the grocery store, baseball games, Bible study, track meets, and even gone out to dinner with friends.

It’s all good; the challenge is that it’s almost too good. Time for physical therapy, daily walks, reading and reflecting, writing, and even working on thank you notes has all but disappeared. Last weekend I realized with a rush of panic that I’ve let it slip away and let life rush in.

I waded into the river and it felt pretty good, then I stepped a little farther out, and now I’m caught in the swirling current of life. I’m not ready to swim.

I’m trying to scale back a little bit and get myself on solid ground. The kids have one more month of school and then I’ll need to be fully present for them.

We still haven’t made any changes to Kalkidan’s room, but I must start soon. We’re setting up a guest bed in preparation for Laura and her husband who are visiting Memorial Day weekend. Then Noah and Katie will stay with us for a week before they move to Seattle.

I need to time to breathe and make changes at a pace we can all bear. I need to think about Kalkidan’s garden and what we want there. We need some sort of marker with her name and the dates of her life. This is hard for me.

I’m going to slow down, step back a little, and set a new pace for this month.

My one priority beyond a gentler life is to focus on Annarose as she completes her last month of high school. She graduates on June 5th – more about that in another post.

How are all of you? If you have a moment, tell me what May holds for your life. Have a wonderful day, friends.

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

21 Comments

  1. Leigh Ann
    May 5, 2015

    I thank you for sharing your successes and your struggles.

    May holds a trip to Eastern Europe to visit a sweet orphan that has stayed with us five times over the course of 3 years. We will see her graduate and hopefully bring her home for good this fall, Lord willing.

    Blessings to you,
    Leigh Ann

    Reply
    1. DFNY
      May 6, 2015

      Wow, that's wonderful. Wishing you a safe trip and a successful transition this Fall.

      Blessings,
      Damaris

      Reply
  2. Pam Parish
    May 5, 2015

    Praying for you, dear friend. May is graduation for us, as well. Our youngest, Heather, will finish High School and all of ours will be in that wonderfully scary season of life called young adulthood. I love you. I love your transparency. I love your heart. Thanks for trusting all of us with your journey.

    Reply
  3. Teresa Brown
    May 5, 2015

    Lisa,

    Thank you so much for how real you have been! Every time I see that you have written another post on your blog, I feel a heaviness in my heart for you, before I even read it.

    Thank you for sharing the good, the bad, the horrible, the small steps of healing and the areas that are still open wounds.

    I feel have learned much from you about grieving well.

    I was actually involved in a major accident last week. I was the only one involved and I suffered minimal injuries physically (a literal miracle: http://www.bgbrownfamily.blogspot.com). But in all seriousness, as I lay trapped in the car waiting for emergency personnel to get there, I thought of your and your family.

    In a strange way, I felt comforted to know that I was not alone.

    I am in no way comparing your situation to mine, for I realize that there is simply no comparison to what you all have gone through. But I just wanted to let you know that your story, your journey, is having an impact on people, even those whom you have never met.

    I will continue to pray for you, Lisa! May the Lord give you the stregnth you need to celebrate Annarose in the weeks to come! ~Teresa Brown

    Reply
  4. courtney
    May 5, 2015

    you are so precious. i love how you share this journey you're on…the good and bad, the practical and the deep deep stuff. it blesses me.

    this month is busy – like it is for everyone…end of school and spring sports and all. but i'm finding such peace in HIM that it's not going to make me lose perspective. none of those THINGS are more important than loving God and loving others. praying fervently that i can keep that at the forefront of my mind. always.

    Reply
  5. Kirsten G.
    May 5, 2015

    Thank you for sharing. I'll be praying that you will find the right balance.

    May is a busy month for us too. My husband went back to his seasonal job of laying sod. That means longer hours away from home, rain days if it's too wet, and me adjusting to being at home without a vehicle. It's an amazing Christian company so the small sacrifices are worth it in the end. We also have something on the calendar for every Saturday this month. It's all good stuff, but I'll need to remember to take a step back and breathe.

    Reply
  6. Amy Louise
    May 5, 2015

    I think Kalkidan's Garden should be a spice garden.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 5, 2015

      🙂

      Reply
    2. Emily and Ben
      May 6, 2015

      Ummmmmmmm I love this idea. Grow spicy chilis???

      Reply
  7. kathycassel
    May 5, 2015

    May will hold some good, some bad. Dealing with a child who is constantly in trouble for bullying/aggression and no remorse.

    At the same time taking one to NYC in June who is graduating 8th grade. Many challenges in her life, but she's worked hard and is a true joy. SHe and I have stepped way out of our comfort zone and are taking scuba. I would have never believed she would ever consider trying it. And we are doing it. Slowly. But doing it. casselcrew.blogspot.com

    Reply
  8. KatiePostma
    May 5, 2015

    Lisa, you are so "normal" in what I've experienced in my grief. It all of the sudden felt like I was almost "overly extended" back into life, and I began to feel that drowning feeling again. So, like you I stepped back to something more manageable for me, and it's been much better. Don't ever let what others think you should do, influence or pressure you out of what you can handle right now. I've found that on some level, I've needed to be somewhat selfish in my grief.

    As for your question about what May brings for us: May 8 (this Friday) will be one year since our 22 month old son jumped into Jesus arms. Our hearts have been heavier the last couple weeks again, which I'm reassured is also "normal". The anticipation seems to feel like more than I can handle, I hate thinking I just want it to be over, but I kind of do. I continue to cling to Jesus, cause I would not have made it a year without Him being by my side every second of the last year. And He also continues to give us little reminders that Ayden is still present in our lives…Just this morning I was grocery shopping and when I came back to get in my van, there was a bear who's called "Scout" laying on the back seat. This was Ayden's lifeline throughout his entire life, the thing that brought him comfort and joy, sometimes when we couldn't. And there Scout lay, where I couldn't miss him. What a gift God gave me in the midst of the heaviness of the week. My advice is to be open to these reminders. They happen more often that you ever think they would. And they always happen when we seem to need a pick-me-up. Continuing to pray for your family as you journey this road nobody ever wanted. Big hugs from one grieving Mommy to another!!

    Reply
  9. gina
    May 5, 2015

    Lisa, You write so beautifully. Thank you for sharing everything about how things are with you all. Im so sorry for the loss of Kalkidan and think of you and your family very often. I love your family and Kalkidan even tho I never had a chance to meet her. I saw your kids at Refresh and SOS on the siblings panel …. from their testimonies of seeing God work, seeing their parents love and serve, seeing the ways God worked in their hearts… May holds some big faith steps for my husband and our family of 4 kids… we are ready to do some more foster care. We have a newborn in our care now and are going to have an 11 year old tomorrow for a week. After that we will see what the Lord has for our family.

    Reply
  10. Ann Z.
    May 5, 2015

    You have such gifts my friend! Such a beautiful picture of you and Russ a while back — I loved seeing your joyous smile — and now such soulful poetry. Enjoy Annarose and her triumphs as these days cannot be recaptured. May brings outdoor living, baby ducklings out our back door, tandem bike riding along the C&O canal, sweet Sunday mornings in our new church home, a visit to upstate NY, and precious time with our Noah. Wish we were closer Lisa. Love to all.

    Reply
  11. charity
    May 5, 2015

    I love the suggestion of a spice garden…or maybe just a garden filled with fiery colors…whether that's flowers or foods…I also have been looking lately for the perfect bench to use as a memorial at a grave…maybe that would be a good addition also to your garden for her. i'm glad you are feeling up to being swept up in the current and I hope you can pull out of it as quickly, and get back on solid ground…it is hard to find time for PT when you are busy being the mom! love you

    Reply
  12. Teresa
    May 6, 2015

    Thank you for your authenticity. You so eloquently document the stages of grief. There is no proper timeline. Everyone journeys this path in their own way.

    We, too, planted a flower garden when our daughter was killed in an accident 7 years ago. It HAD to be a flower garden because she was always the kid that every spring would stomp around and declare, "I don't understand why we have to spend so much time planting vegetables! Flowers are so much prettier!" So, it was fitting that her garden was all flowers! It was quite a project to undertake but it is neat to look back and see how family, friends and co-workers rallied around us to prep the land, supply gift certificates for a central maple tree, purchase a marble bench In Loving Memory of her name, and show up on the anniversary of her death (June 2) with plants in hand, to till the soil, move wheelbarrows full of dirt, plant flowers, water and mulch the area. Some brought flowers from their own gardens to share (we even have a shoot from a rosebush that belonged to our dear friend's grandmother), others brought new plants and others brought seeds or bulbs. It was a wonderful way to cope on that first anniversary. And the garden continues to be a wonderful centerpiece to our home. I have loved watching it bloom every spring and think about how much joy Grace would have had watching the flowers bloom and tending to them dearly.

    As far as what life will bring for us it includes a 10 day trip to Italy for my husband and I as we celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. It will be the first time we've ever been away from our children for this long. We are thankful to Grammie and Grampa for being willing (and able) to watch over 5 busy children for that long!

    May also marks my first Mother's Day since my one and only pregnancy (all 6 of my girls are adopted) ended in a miscarriage the day after Christmas. I'm kind of a mess trying to navigate through the sadness while cherishing the many blessings still right here in front of me. Lord Jesus Come!

    Reply
  13. Elizabeth
    May 6, 2015

    What a hard balance. Doing "normal" things, but still having the opportunity to be still and process.

    I am an aupair (nanny that lives with a family in another country) in Australia. May is a busy month for the family I work for. They own a small business and it has alot of functions this month. It means weird hours for me as well as them. I will need to balance having some time out, that is harder to do when you live at work.

    Reply
  14. Ann Hodgman
    May 7, 2015

    Lisa, it seems awfully soon for you (or anyone in your family) to undertake the painful chore of reconfiguring Kalkidan's room. I bet you have friends who would be happy to do it for you. I wish I were there to help!

    Reply
  15. Luann Yarrow Doman
    May 7, 2015

    Sometimes grief feels like a full-time job. Praying for you.
    May is a busy month for us. Next week alone is a killer. My MIL has another round of chemo (stage 4 cancer). I have several freelance writing/editing deadlines. We have an appointment for our photos to be taken for our church pictorial directory (hello Stress-of-what-to-wear!). And the biggest thing…The Ethiopian Courts have given MOWA a May 12 deadline to give us a letter of recommendation. Everyone involved believes it will be a negative recommendation (because we are missing one piece of paper from the children's region, which is not doing int'l adoption any longer) and then we supposedly appeal to the Federal Court to overrule MOWA's negative recommendation. Me, I'm praying for a miracle positive recommendation. And our three Ethio kiddos to be home ASAP.
    Love to you and yours~

    Reply
    1. Kirsten L
      May 16, 2015

      Will pray for your court date! I passed court May 18, five years ago and thought I never would. I am an older, single mom. I remember well the feeling of thinking I wouldn't. Have you been in process since before they stopped IA from the south? I will pray!

      Reply
  16. Zanne
    May 7, 2015

    Thanks for sharing your grief with us.

    May is always our wonderful crazy busy insane month…. and I love it. the snow is gone and everything is getting wonderfully green. my lilac bush might bloom for the first time this year (yay). we celebrated my son's 16th birthday a couple of days ago and now he has a weekend of singing coming up culminating in a mothers day performance. then he has his regular dancing and teaching for a couple more weeks until the final 3 performances. my 5 year old has just under 2 months of kindergarten left, and honestly she can't wait to be homeschooled next year with her brother. as for me…..I want to finally get into my garden.

    Reply
  17. Melissa Joy
    May 8, 2015

    May holds my mama's birthday (which we celebrated by her going to a musical with all her grandchildren & out to dinner), my oldest son's birthday (7 this year! already going so fast!), our wedding anniversary (8th this year), and hopefully my 12/13 week OB appointment for my 13th baby ~ Lord willing, our 4th living child. Lots of bittersweet moments in this month for us, and lots of reasons to slow down & enjoy the day by day moments of life… life that is blessed by God's grace, upheld by His Word, and showered with His joys.

    As you continue wading through the ups and the downs in the current, thank you for seeking out what God is doing in the lives of others as well. A real gift.

    Reply

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