Remembering Kalkidan

I wish I was one of those people who dreamed of loved ones in heaven. It’s only happened a couple of times since we lost Kalkidan. This was one of those times.

Our family was gathered around a table. I was sitting at one end and the table was long with so many of us together. We were talking and laughing when Kalkidan ran into the room. 

Shouts went up, “She’s here! She’s here! Kalkidan is here!”

She ran to me, crawled into my lap, and rested her head against my chest. I kissed her forehead, my cheek brushing against her curls.

For a moment I felt warmth and joy, then I felt myself begin to surface from sleep, and I realized it was a dream. I tried to hold on to it, to sink more deeply into the dream and let it flow on, but it was gone.

I wanted to reach for Russ, rest my head on his chest, borrow some of his courage, but I also didn’t want to wake him when his alarm would do it soon enough.

I drifted back to sleep.

I woke again in the morning with a deep sense of sadness.

Today (10/29) is Kalkidan’s birthday.

This should be her senior year of high school and she should be walking next to Claire at their graduation next spring.

But even as I type the words “should” I sense that’s not quite what I mean. This all should be true, but only if I can have my own way. The fact is, I don’t get my own way, I can only walk in God’s way.

His plans are better, even when I don’t understand. I bend my knee to him– I trust him.

But that surrender is not easy; sometimes I have to fight for it. I’m reminded of a story in the gospel of John. Many of Jesus’s disciples had turned away and he asked the twelve if they were going to leave too.  Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, you are the holy one of God.”

I see no other way than to trust Jesus, the holy one of God. I can’t imagine living through a tragedy like this without him. But that doesn’t change the reality that grief is hard.

C.S. Lewis wrote,

No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.

Grief is an animal I can’t control.

Sometimes it’s powerful and overwhelming; I feel crushed under its weight. Other times it’s a small wave of sadness that almost feels right and good because it means I haven’t forgotten.

The first two years after we lost Kalkidan, I was overcome by a feeling of fear. Or maybe it was a sense of confusion, like it just couldn’t be possible. To be honest, I still feel that way some days. But there was fear and a sense that the world was no longer safe.

C.S. Lewis goes on to say,

I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.

At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in.

That invisible blanket was very real in the early years – I was different after the accident. Nearly five years later, I know I will never be the person I was before losing Kalkidan. There is no getting back to the way it was before, or who I was before. I’m forever changed.

And that feels right to me.

Some of my children have gotten tattoos as symbols of how they have been changed and what God has done. One tattoo says, “it is well” the other “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” I don’t have a tattoo, but I’m marked by changes in who I am and how I relate to the world.

Of all the things that weigh on me, I don’t want Kalkidan to be forgotten. Her life shaped mine in so many life-changing ways. Her life may have touched you too.

Today we are remembering Kalkidan. Thank you for letting me share her with you.  #rememberingkalkidan

If you have lost someone you love, I’m very sorry you are walking through this too. I send you my love.

With courage and hope,

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.

5 Comments

  1. Anne
    October 30, 2019

    I have read about her here and know a bit of her story. My son is 11 yrs old and was at The Ranch for Kids for 3 months when it was closed in late July by the state of Montana. He’s back at home……well, he was declared 5150 on Sunday night so he is in the psych hospital. Today, 3 days later I feel grief and a sense that I cannot continue with him in our home – we can not afford placement in another institution – and I cannot imagine life without him. I’m lost. Seeking God’s direction but hearing nothing and feeling empty and broken. I’m replaying ‘Raise a Hallelujah’ hoping it will somehow pull me out of this pit……. hoping somehow it will lead me to answers…… hoping for …… a new hope. I know Christ can change our situations and heal this boys heart and mind but WILL HE? I wait for the answer daily. I’m so sorry for this unthinkable loss you deal with daily. I cannot imagine it. Praying for your heart to receive comfort.

    Reply
    1. Karla
      November 20, 2019

      I am glad that you took the time to share. I may not be able to help you anyway other than to let you know you are heard and your pain and grief is heard. My heart cry’s for you when I read your experience.

      Reply
  2. Regan Garner
    October 31, 2019

    Honoring your memories of Kalkidan and your grief. Thank you for sharing your heart, Lisa, and your ongoing surrender to Jesus. May the Lord comfort you tenderly.

    Reply
  3. Deb
    October 31, 2019

    I love how you share your HARD with honesty and grace, trusting in God. I love you, Friend.
    😘🙏🤗🐕🧡

    Reply
  4. Karla
    November 20, 2019

    I remember when I found out about your family loss. I was sitting at a rather large pinochle party at my house with many guest. I remember….I remember her sweet picture and hard story and I always appreciate hearing your thoughts about that precious daughter.

    Reply

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