Moving Forward but Not Away


How do we move forward without moving away?

Saturday we took down the bunk beds in Kalkidan’s room. It’s taken us a long time to feel ready.

Kalkidan loved bright colors, which suited her personality. Last summer Samuel painted the room yellow and then Kalkidan picked out the bright bedding. She chose the bottom bunk with the bright chevron striped comforter. Although Claire shared a bedroom with Annarose, most nights she slept in Kalkidan’s room on the top bunk, so Kalkidan picked out a comforter for her bed too.

In the months following the accident, I often found Russ or one of the kids sitting in Kalkidan’s room, or lying down on her bed. For a long time, we left it exactly as she did the morning of the accident, until one day Russ pulled the covers up. Some of the kids had a hard time with that.

For months I was upset if anyone shut Kalkidan’s bedroom door. I was afraid that once shut, I wouldn’t be able to open it again. When I remember that, I realize that I am making progress. I walk by her bedroom multiple times every day and if the door is closed, I often open it, but not out of fear

Taking down the bunk beds was one step forward. Her bookcase, nightstand drawers, and closet are still pretty much as she left them. Her dresser is still full, but I promised the dresser to a sweet friend who needs it for her new baby and she is picking it up this weekend. I’m not ready to part with much, so I imagine I’ll only transfer things to boxes.

This is so hard. Never before have I experienced grief like this and I don’t like it at all.

Just this morning in church, we were singing and I remembered Kalkidan so clearly standing just down the row from me. I could picture what she was wearing and see her wild curls.

The realization that she is gone – for the rest of our lives on this earth – washed over me and I started to cry. I feel like I’ll never get used to the forever-ness of this.

After church I got this text from one of my closest friends, “Having some hard Kalkidan moments today. Still can’t believe she’s gone. Loved her so much.”

I replied, “Me too. I kept thinking of her in church and crying. She was such a lively person. I still feel confused – like it can’t be.”

“That’s exactly what hit me today. How could this be?”

“I’m so glad you miss her with me.”

“I always will.”

I don’t want to move away from Kalkidan, I want to hold her close. I hope one day it won’t feel so painful and terrible.

Our hope is in the promises of Jesus – we’ll see her again one day.


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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.

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