I Learned Something About Grief That Day

I considered trying to shorten this story, but truthfully, it will take more time for me to edit and cut things than to just pour it out. ¬†I know it is a lot of detail; I hope you don’t mind. I’m going to continue on through the next couple of days, bear with me. If you haven’t seen the previous posts, you may want to read, When the Train Left the Station, and And it Continued Down the Track.

We headed to Montana on Monday morning.  Despite snowy roads, which made travel a little slower and going over the mountain passes a little more exciting, we had a good trip.  The huge semi sliding near the top of the pass was a bit much for me, but Russ can drive in anything and is rarely bothered by road conditions.

Arriving later than we had hoped, we still managed to find a good place for dinner and had a nice time with Dimples. ¬†It was odd being just the three of us; we felt it most when it was time to sleep. ¬†Dimples had a big bed all to herself, so she piled the pillows up and said she was in “pillow heaven.” ¬†I spent hours lying awake listening to Russ and Dimples breathe. ¬†I thought and prayed for a very long time; the morning was coming soon and with it changes that I wasn’t ready to face.

We arrived at the school at 9:00 and quickly began the admissions process by gathering with a group of staff around a large table.  As the reality of the plan began to sink in, Dimples began to weep Рsilently.  Tears rolled down her cheeks, falling on her jacket.  Russ and I struggled to maintain our composure and simply rested a hand on her, occasionally brushing back her hair or offering her a tissue.  After a few minutes, which felt much longer, one of the staff said he would take her around the facility to see what the other kids were doing.  He took her hand and they walked out the door. The moment it closed, Russ and I grabbed hold of each other and cried Рhard.  I held him tight, and despite the presence of the  people sitting at the table with us, we finally let out the tears we had been holding back.

I learned something about grief that day. ¬†When we cried, the staff was silent – not in an awkward way that made us feel observed, but in a reverent way that honored our sorrow. ¬†When I finally collected myself enough to look up, I saw faces of compassion with tears in some of their eyes. ¬†Nobody felt the need to lighten the mood or fill the silence, they just let us cry. ¬†It made me realize that when I am in the place of comforting somebody who is weeping, I don’t need to have answers or even speak words of comfort, being compassionately present may be enough.

The next couple of hours were filled with paperwork, meeting the staff, and learning more about the program. ¬†In my first conversation with the admissions counselor, she mentioned that the children’s spiritual development is important to the staff and they will do what they can to meet that need. ¬†They have a chaplain who runs a program for Christian education and discipleship that is available for families who are interested. ¬†I talked about our faith and how important it is to us that Dimples continue to grow in her relationship with Jesus, so the Chaplain was asked to be present during our admissions process.

The second time I cried was when the Chaplain began talking about the program and said that he prays for all of the children and their families. ¬†I cried because it touched such a deep place in me, ¬†I cried out of relief that I felt her faith would be safely nurtured, and I cried because it frightens me to trust her care, including her spiritual well-being to people I don’t know.

Soon it was time to go to the cottage and unpack Dimples’ things. ¬†We stopped by to see her as she ate lunch with the kids and then headed to our car ¬†to get her bags.

More soon.

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¬ģ 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.

38 Comments

  1. Tisha
    January 16, 2013

    Your words moved me to tears today. My heart is heavy for all you are going through and hopeful for what the future holds in store. Thank you for allowing us to walk inside your sacred places with you, and learn from and through you.

    Reply
  2. Lauren L
    January 16, 2013

    I am sure it's not easy. Healing is hard. For all of you. Thinking of you.

    Reply
  3. Sharon
    January 16, 2013

    Crying along with you and continuing to pray for strength.

    Reply
  4. Coffee mom
    January 16, 2013

    This brought my own tears, for you all. So hard. But I am hopeful for the healing potential for you all. But grieve w you too. Prayers continue and will. Of course.

    Reply
  5. mamitaj
    January 16, 2013

    I feel like I'm standing on hallowed ground. Thank you for being so raw and honest and open. Praying for you all.

    Reply
  6. Kat
    January 16, 2013

    I just totally cried. Praying for your precious family and Dimples healing. God's Hand is so obviously on you.

    Reply
  7. Emily
    January 16, 2013

    I love you. And Dimples.

    Reply
  8. Emily
    January 16, 2013

    (crying.)

    Reply
  9. Michelle
    January 16, 2013

    Tears. Tisha's words are perfect. Thank you. Praying.

    Reply
  10. Kara
    January 16, 2013

    I'm crying with you. Thanks for sharing these painful details. May God meet you in your grief.

    Reply
  11. Tressa
    January 16, 2013

    Praying for you and your family Lisa. Take good care.

    Reply
  12. Joelle
    January 16, 2013

    I'm glad you are aware of the grieving and that you have support and validation for your grieving. I've been wondering how Dimples handled this and while sad I guess I'm a little glad that it was sad for her too. My situation is very different from yours but I've had many moments of grief this past year and I think I do a little of my grieving as I read your posts. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  13. Blessed
    January 16, 2013

    Thank you for sharing the long version. Someday when you look back, you might be glad to have the long version to read–maybe even with Dimples.

    Reply
  14. Mentor Mom
    January 16, 2013

    Tears are good (for both you and Dimples). When we dropped Little Miss off at her Residential Care Facility, she shed no tears. She gave no hugs. Because . . . she has rarely shed tears (except in a RAGE), nor has she given hugs, in the nearly 5 years since we brought her home.

    When I see all of the pics that you post of Dimples, with her cute smile, I see a girl that can be cheery and bright . . . I see a love for you all. In the 5 years that our LIttle Miss was home, it was a very rare occasion to ever see a smile. We don't have any pictures of her smiling. We don't have any pictures of her hugging or cuddling Dad or Mom. We don't have any pictures of her even with Dad or Mom, as she kept her distance. Our Little Miss was so very broken by the time we brought her home, that she had "wrapped her heart in concrete" (the only way I can describe the condition of her broken little heart).

    You will continue to grieve for awhile. I will continue to pray.

    Love & Hugs,

    Laurel

    Reply
  15. shannoncl
    January 16, 2013

    We're here, Lisa. Praying hard.

    Reply
  16. Ann
    January 16, 2013

    Luke 2:34-35 — Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

    A sword piercing the soul–perfect description of a parent's grief. But remember that you're not losing her, and she's not losing you…

    Reply
  17. courtneycassada
    January 16, 2013

    grief. such a huge, deep thing that we try to avoid, yet can't in this world. i'm so glad you've been able to let tears flow. holding you up…always.

    Reply
  18. Dawn Wright
    January 16, 2013

    My heart is breaking……I can not pretend to imagine, but PRAYING with you!!!!!

    Reply
  19. Katie Patel
    January 16, 2013

    crying with you, believing with you, praying with you…..

    katie

    Reply
  20. Suzanne
    January 16, 2013

    Thank you for sharing this most sacred of stories. I am blessed by your vulnerability, your love for DImples, your love for Jesus…kneeling before the throne this morning for you.

    Reply
  21. Tricia
    January 16, 2013

    I wrote a blog one time about the Jewish practice of sitting shiva. Being with someone in silence is often what is most needed in times of grief. Sitting shiva with you.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 16, 2013

      I would love to have a link to that, Tricia. Can you share it here?

      Reply
      1. Emily
        January 18, 2013
        Reply
      2. Tricia
        January 18, 2013
        Reply
    2. Emily
      January 16, 2013

      Like.

      Reply
    3. Sami
      January 16, 2013

      I would like to see that as well.

      When I lost my parents 4 years ago, I didn't know many people who had the gift of being able to give with me. It is a gift to be able to do it, and such a gift to the griever. I still treasure those friends more than gold!

      Lisa, just heartbroken for you. Something I was encouraged by this morning when thinking about my children was Phil 1:6–God is the one who carries their souls. That is not our burden. Still, so much brokenness here…. And does it ever ache! Your family is often on my mind throughout the day and I am praying for you. We will all be healed in Heaven right? That's what I hope in every day!

      Reply
  22. Laila
    January 16, 2013

    Lisa, I am another Mom that has adopted a child from another country. We have serious challenges as well. Thank you for posting your journey. I will remember this post when I deal with my girls, that having compassionate without trying to fix these. Thank you for this. It is helpful to me and I am sure many others. I so feel your pain. My heart goes out to you…. I will be lifting you and for Dimples up in prayer.
    Laila
    [email protected]

    Reply
  23. nancileamarie
    January 16, 2013

    Just crying as I read. Been thinking of you often.

    Reply
  24. SundaeK
    January 16, 2013

    Lisa- thank you for sharing this story. Though probably for different reasons, I had to place my oldest son in a residential program, the sadness and loss I felt sending him there was astronomical. And the overwhelming relief that came from having him safe and out of the house, regaining some normalcy in our home, was so riddled with guilt. I don't know exactly what you are going through- but the story and the feelings are painfully familiar to me. My heart breaks with yours. I will add you to my prayers.

    Reply
  25. KarenP
    January 16, 2013

    Crying and praying with you…

    Reply
  26. Amy
    January 16, 2013

    I told our attachment counselor today briefly about your story. I have been heartbroken for you … and deeply saddened for us. I know this is not about me, and yet I also know that you share on your blog … for those of us who are struggling. I have read and tried to grab onto each therapeutic technique you have shared. Wondered if those techniques would ever come naturally to me, and been thankful for all those who have gone before us. My little man is 6, and so many times as I've read your stories of Dimples, I've been nodding yes to behaviors and impacts on the family. She reminded me not to live with catastrophic scenarios of the future in my head, but also that as he grows bigger and stronger, it would be wise for us to remember that these children often need outside help to grow in their healing. All that to say, you are in my prayers, and I'm grateful for your heartfelt, honest sharing of your journey.

    Reply
  27. SleepyKnitter
    January 16, 2013

    Thank you as always for posting. I think each of us reads what you write for different reasons, some for identifying with you because we’ve been there done that and know it hurts, some for learning about adoption and the good and the bad, some because they know you personally and love you personally, but I think we all want to pray for you and lift you up as you are going through this. Such a deep, deep heartache.

    Praying for you.

    –shawnee

    Reply
  28. Hilary
    January 16, 2013

    Thank you Lisa for this blog and sharing it so well. You have helped so many of us who also have kids from hard places. I admire you so much and hope you know how much others are thinking of you even though not personally knowing you. Prayers are with you and your family.

    Reply
  29. Linda
    January 16, 2013

    Tears here too….just so honest.
    I have to say I have a feeling of such hope for Dimples. Her crying….so glad to see emotions coming through during this process in any way. Also I feel hope that there will be healing in your family. I think if you read your blog from its beginning you will see the change in it's tone. I can already sense that although this is going to be hard there's going to be a lot of healing emotionally. I believe many of us over the past year or so were getting concerned for your emotional wellbeing. Praying that God brings healing to all of the Qualls family.

    Reply
  30. Melodie
    January 17, 2013

    As I've traversed the past few months with our daughter, I keep coming back to your blog…because your honesty is so refreshing and comforting. While never having met you or your family in person, I find both on my heart and mind much throughout the day and so I pray.

    Reply
  31. Sadee
    January 17, 2013

    I'm crying and praying with you too……

    Reply
  32. Sara
    January 17, 2013

    This is beautiful in a heartbreaking way.

    Reply
  33. Jess
    January 19, 2013

    I'm crying and praying with you too and your post is such an encouragement and confirmation that even though trials may be ahead we are still chosen to be out kids' parents. We still choose yes! Because of what He can do not us!

    Reply

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