We walked into the cottage after the long drive to Montana, and one of the first things I heard was one staff member say to another, “I’m really going to miss that kid.” Those words characterized Dimples’ entire farewell.
Dimples “Goodbye Ceremony” was lovely. All of the children from her cottage were present, and many of the staff. She also invited the chaplain and a couple of kids from other cottages who were close friends. Her therapist lit a candle and spoke of Dimples, how she had grown, the hard work she had done in therapy, difficult moments, successes, and overall affirmed Dimples for the progress she made. Then she lit the candle of the cottage case manager who shared her thoughts, who then lit the candle of her closest staff member who spoke more affirming words.
The flame was passed to the chaplain who spoke of Dimples’ growth in her faith. He told a great story of her speaking to a group of ladies from a church (I think) where she said, “I don’t like grace.” We all laughed at her honesty. He passed the flame to me and I shared a little bit about how we had come to the program and the hope we have for the restoration of our family as Dimples returns.
We blew the candles out and then went around the circle again. Dimples called on each person and they shared a favorite memory of her, than she shared one of them. The kids’ memories often had to do with tipping canoes over or other funny stories. I shared a memory about a family picture she drew in therapy that had given me a clearer picture of some of her struggle in our family.
Everyone hugged and asked her to keep in touch. We went to two other cottages where she said goodbye to other special staff. One of them hugged her and said, “You bring sunshine everywhere you go.” Those words made my heart so glad.
The most poignant moment was when she parted with her best friend from another cottage. Her friend wrote a touching letter to Dimples asking her to email once a week to stay in touch. Later Dimples told me that her friend asked her, “Do you think your family could adopt me too?” She doesn’t have a family -I haven’t stopped thinking about her since. It breaks my heart.
Have a great day, friends. Many blessings to all of you.
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