Christmas Ornaments and Culinary School

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I went to bed last night knowing that today would be the 27th, eight months since the accident. I know I’m not exactly attracting readers to my blog by writing more about grief; I told myself – once a week at the most – but I can’t do anything else today, I just can’t.

Thanks to my phone chiming at 4:30 with a text from a wrong number, I woke from a bad dream and crawled out of bed. Wrapping a sweater tightly around myself, I crept downstairs and hit the button on the coffee maker. Mercifully, I had set it up the night before. Now I’m sitting in my favorite spot, coffee next to me, a heavy weight on my chest.

Yesterday I was looking through pictures for a post as Eby peeked over my shoulder. He saw a picture of Kalkidan and said, “I wish we knew that Kalkidan was going to die so you wouldn’t go and it wouldn’t happen.” He paused and I put my hand on his arm, “Or maybe you could wait 20 minutes, then she wouldn’t die and be buried under our tree.”

“Me too, Ebs,” I said, “Me too. I wish we could change everything about that day.”
Glancing back at the pictures, he said, “Can we still hang her ornaments on the Christmas tree? And can we give her a new one each year too?”

“Of course we’ll hang her ornaments, and if you want to get a new one for her, we can do that too.”

That afternoon I came home from an appointment to find the house filled with the smell of spices. Claire was cooking spicy fried potatoes, a recipe she and Kalkidan created and put in their cookbooks. Claire wanted to make something to remember her sister who loved to cook – and eat.

claire cooking

I called Kalkidan my “culinary genius” and we talked about the possibility of culinary school in her future. She was very interested, but only if she didn’t make it as a professional basketball player. She was holding out hope that her talent would make up for her height of 4’11”.

Today is all the more complicated because for the second time in eight months, I have to drive north up Highway 95, past the site of the accident. I honestly don’t feel capable. I told Russ that we need to look  for an alternate route on Google maps – I don’t care how much time it adds, I just can’t do it today.

We are surrounded by memories of Kalkidan, which is wonderful and good. Yet grief pops up often; it pulls on us. Sometimes the sadness is almost sweet; we love her, we miss her. Other times, it washes over me like the wave in Hawaii that once caught me unaware, knocking me off my feet, and sending me tumbling in the sand.

Today is like that. Maybe I just need to cry hard – let it all out. It feels too big, too powerful, and I don’t want it to overwhelm me.

Oh friends, thank you for walking this road with me. Thank you for letting me pour myself out and put my swirling thoughts into sentences that come out my fingers. It helps me more than you can know.

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.

29 Comments

  1. Lori Glasscock
    August 27, 2015

    Swaddling you in prayer today, sweet sister. You are loved.

    Reply
  2. Rachel
    August 27, 2015

    Blessings to you today. Thank you for sharing so openly. There is beauty and power even in your grief that heals and soothes all of usl. Please keep writing whatever you need to write. Know that we are walking with you and many times, your words express what we feel in our own griefs but don't have the words to say.

    Reply
  3. Mary DeGennaro
    August 27, 2015

    Lisa, I love your honesty and it really helps to hear how you are doing so that I am reminded to lift you up in prayer, you and your family. I love seeing pictures of Kalkidan…I think of her often, even when not on your blog. I love how much you loved your sweet girl!!

    Reply
  4. Bonny Holder
    August 27, 2015

    <3

    Reply
  5. libraryqueen
    August 27, 2015

    I am so happy that you guys were there to show her what love looked like after such a hard beginning in life. God knew the end from the beginning and still choose for you to be the ones to be His hands and feet during her short time. May the Holy Spirit comfort you today and everyday.

    Reply
  6. Luann Yarrow Doman
    August 27, 2015

    You may not be gaining any readers, but you're also not losing any.
    I'm honored to walk through this journey with you, even if only through this blog.
    We all have grief and pain in one way or another, and sometimes it helps to have someone put words to our feelings. Thank you for doing that.

    Reply
  7. Amanda
    August 27, 2015

    Lisa, you write about Kalkidan and the grief you feel for you girl as often as you need to. There is no timetable for grief, and your true friends (and those who have walked this road) will understand. This October it will be 20 years since my baby girl went to Heaven–she only lived 2 hours and 8 minutes. And I STILL feel the need to talk about her. And I have friends who understand. As do you. ((((hugs)))) to you.

    Reply
  8. Joanne Beasley
    August 27, 2015

    Father, thank You for the beauty in Lisa's writing. What a grace You have bestowed on her and her life…an empowerment to love fully and express it. Holy Spirit we welcome You, Your presence on Lisa's heart, mind, soul, and body right now. We welcome You, Holy Spirit. Be her comforter, embracing her in Your presence, bringing beauty for ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the spirit of praise instead of heaviness. Thank You for knowing her, walking with her, and wiping her tears, and giving her hugs. Thank You for Your kindness and gentleness, Father God.

    Reply
  9. Anita
    August 27, 2015

    I think it's safe to say that all your readers love you, and will "listen" anytime you have something to say–whether it is about grief or not (and I really think they listen with great compassion, not judgement, when it is about grief). I'm praying the Lord carries you and your heavy weight today. And I love how you are doing so well at helping your kids process their grief by keeping your conversations about Kalkidan so open, and giving them the freedom to heal in their own unique ways. I feel proud of you and I've never even met you! 🙂

    Reply
  10. Rachel Davis
    August 27, 2015

    Grief is not meant to be born in silence. We are all proud of you and love you for your love.

    Reply
  11. keb
    August 27, 2015

    Thinking of you and your family today Lisa. I hope your journey goes well and you are able to drive a different route. Hugs from Virginia.

    Reply
  12. DFNY
    August 27, 2015

    Lisa, I don't think anyone thinks that you shouldn't write about grief or any other topic. I know I'm not the only one who is grateful for your blog and for being able to share in your life. I read your beautiful words with tears in my eyes and I only FEEL like I knew Kalkidan since we are only cyberfriends. What must your heart feel when it's your daughter that you lost? Thinking of you and holding you up.

    Blessings being sent to you,
    Damaris

    Reply
  13. jentompkins
    August 27, 2015

    I know I speak for many when I say that we follow and read your blog because you are real and genuine, not for feel-good, amusing anecdotes. Being yourself and living through this suffering honestly actually might attract more readers! Letting us into your pain and grief is the bravest thing I can imagine–and we love you all the more for it. Praying for your heart today, that Jesus would bring a glimpse of comfort that only He can. Hugs to you!

    Reply
    1. Sonya Hillrich
      August 29, 2015

      This was perfect!
      ~

      Reply
  14. Amy K
    August 27, 2015

    Love you, Lisa. I'll be praying for comfort for all of you today.

    Reply
  15. Juiie
    August 27, 2015

    You grieve and talk as much as you need to. We'll be here to lift you up to our Heavenly Father. Sending hugs, Lisa.

    Reply
  16. Blessed
    August 27, 2015

    Yes, by all means talk about it as much as you need. Because this is like your virtual living room, and you are inviting us all in for a quick visit and refreshment. We stop by because we care about you and those you love. So if someone comes to the door and realizes they are at the wrong house, don't worry about them. They'll remember where your house is in case they're supposed to come back another time.

    I am so sorry for your loss. I do love hearing about her and your family's love. Please share as much as you desire. Your heart, even broken, is beautiful.

    much love to you today

    Reply
  17. Jeri
    August 27, 2015

    Never apologize. I'd bet your readers are grieving right along with you…I do. Plant some flowers for her so you can see the beauty that was K.
    Claire, that is a fantastic thing to do to remember Kalkidan. Way to go!

    Reply
  18. Deborah
    August 27, 2015

    Please don't ever censor your grief thinking your readers can't handle it. Your readers are here reading because you have been real and open and honest and even raw in the hardest of times with the most difficult of subjects. We are here for you as you have been here for us. Keep on sister – we love you.

    Reply
  19. Michelle
    August 27, 2015

    thank you for sharing your broken heart

    Reply
  20. Krys
    August 27, 2015

    Thank you for sharing this Lisa. It echoes so much of the loss that I am experiencing in our family. Thank you for your honesty.
    Blessings to you,
    Krys

    Reply
  21. kelly
    August 27, 2015

    Thanks for being real. I'm praying for you and your family.

    Reply
  22. Emily
    August 27, 2015

    I love you so much.

    Reply
  23. Kathrin
    August 27, 2015

    Praying for you!

    Reply
  24. Sarah
    August 28, 2015

    Never having experienced this kind of grief, I have zero idea how much this helps, but: You can rest in the knowledge that every day, and usually three times, I pray that you all walk in God's shadow, that God spread the shelter of God's peace over you all, and that you learn and grow in your faith in God through your grief. Sorry if that's lame, it was the best a happy 22-year-old could come up with.

    Reply
  25. Nikki Smith
    August 28, 2015

    My God's peace wrap around you like a blanket. Thank you for being real that is what draws people. Hugs praying for you all.

    Reply
  26. Jennifer
    August 28, 2015

    Wishes and prayers for you and your loved ones in this deep season of grief. Anniversaries are such hard times, aren't they? I don't fully understand it but I know how fresh it feels at these symbolic times. Your love for Kalkidan is a beautiful thing.

    Reply
  27. Joelle
    August 28, 2015

    Some day your posts will be in a book and comfort others as hopefully "A Grief Observed" will comfort you. Your trauma about driving highway 95 reminds me of a young friend of mine who quit massage therapy school after her husband of nine months died in a car accident because she just couldn't travel the route they traveled together so often. Healing comes from actively stepping out and also from pulling away as well. Sounds like traveling highway 95 would be like picking at a scab just to see how well a hurt is healing. Love you. It seems like a long time away but I hope to spend some time face to face next family reunion. PS I wanted to make sriracha salt to send to you to honor Kalkidan on this day but as with so many things that come to my mind,I don't manage to accomplish them. Still, I'm thinking about you.

    Reply
  28. Kathleen
    August 28, 2015

    Your grief teaches us, prepares us but it is your grief so present in the lives of your family and loved ones. I have known grief not of your magnitude but it comes often and without warning and never asked if the person is ready to travel through it at that moment! Please know all of your blog readers come knowing what a heaviness you have on your heart all day, every day. Your courage bearing it allows us all to learn that loving someone has an endlessness that transforms our earthly existence. May you and your family find some peace and strength as your continue this journey for as long as It takes.

    Reply

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