Our Memorial for Kalkidan

kalkidan memorial cross

Throughout my life I’ve seen memorials. I’ve stood in front of  grand ones, like Lincoln sitting in all of his marble glory, and very small ones, like the white cross with a pair of drumsticks lashed to it that used to stand on Highway 95. I drove by that cross many times as I traveled north to Couer d’Alene and Spokane, and I wondered about the person who died and the family who put the cross in the ground. I had sober respect for that curve in the road and always drove it with caution. The cross was there for many years.

It was at that same curve in the road where Kalkidan’s life on this earth ended and her life in heaven began. Not long after the accident, we began to talk about ways to remember her, and the idea of putting a cross at the site came to mind. I couldn’t decide how I felt. For a very long time I couldn’t even drive by that spot, until one day when the Lord reminded me that in the most terrible moment of my life, He was there.

That curve in the road is sacred ground to us. In the wreckage, Jesus was with us; we were not alone. Kalkidan’s soul was released from her body and she rushed into the arms of Jesus. I believe angels were there and she was not afraid. Our girl now knows only love – no fear, pain, sorrow.

The cross is placed at that very dangerous curve and we hope it will remind people to use caution. Our accident was due to ice on the road, but often people take the curve too fast. We personally know other people who have gone off the road there. The day of our accident, there were three more at that same spot.

Additionally, we are a very home-focused family. We’ve birthed many of our babies at home, homeschooled, and each Sunday we gather in our dining room for Family Dinner. Although it’s unusual, we continued that theme in our loss, and buried Kalkidan’s ashes on our property. We’ll be putting in a memorial garden for her next spring.

While it is lovely for us, our decision didn’t leave a public place for friends to remember her. One of her classmates asked about visiting her grave and there was no place to go except our home.

Now anyone who knows our family, or who knew and loved Kalkidan, can stop at our little memorial and think of her, leave flowers, or a note, or anything that brings comfort. Tomorrow, on Kalkidan’s birthday, Russ and I will take a bright bouquet of balloons, like the ones at her memorial service, and put them near her cross.

When we placed the cross, we planted tulips on either side of it, and we plan to plant many more bulbs over time. Next spring we’ll scatter wildflower seeds; one day it will be bright and colorful, just like Kalkidan.

It was emotional taking the younger children there yesterday; we had never stopped with them. It was particularly difficult for Claire who was so close to Kalkidan. The boys wondered if the crumpled car would still be there or if anything scary remained. Thankfully, the sun was shining and it was a nice day. Ebenezer and Wogauyu played happily in the farmer’s field while we worked.

Stopping at Kalkidan’s cross will now be a regular part of our lives. I don’t know how that is going to feel, but one day I hope we’ll stop and good memories will come to our minds. We’ll thank God for blessing us with Kalkidan, laugh about her outlandish love for spicy food, and tell stories about the amazing things Jesus did in her life.

We are truly honored that God chose us to be Kalkidan’s family – we will never be the same.

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.

8 Comments

  1. Pam
    October 28, 2015

    Tears…

    I don't have the ability to post pictures – I'm not that tech savy – but tomorrow my family and I will wear orange in honor of your beautiful daughter.

    Reply
  2. Paula Miles Spears
    October 28, 2015

    It's perfect.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 28, 2015

      I am very happy with how the cross looks. Thank you, Paula.

      Reply
  3. Lisa Qualls
    October 28, 2015

    Thank you, Pam.

    Reply
  4. Elizabeth
    October 29, 2015

    A picture truly can be worth thousands of words, I am glad you will have that picture. May God be closer than anything on her birthday.

    With love from a "stranger"

    Reply
  5. Laura
    October 29, 2015

    Ah Lisa, I can't even imagine looking for a cross much less putting in the ground. Your strength amazes me. It is beautiful. I will be wearing orange—certainly not an Andrews color—-for the day and telling anyone who asks about my orange scarf of Kalkidan. Hoping to get one of the techie kids of mine to post a picture! Love you my sister.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 1, 2015

      I love the pics from you and your kids. Thank you.

      Reply
  6. KMT
    October 29, 2015

    It might seem unusual by today's standards to bury your daughter's ashes on your property and birth your babies at home and homeschool, but not so long ago, that was the norm. In fact, President Carter was the first US president to be born in a hospital and Prince William is the first in line for the British throne to be born in a hospital. It used to be the norm to have a family home with a family cemetery and sometimes even a small chapel. I'm so very sorry that your lost your daughter so early in her life. Thank you for sharing your journey on your blog and being an example to family-centered living, because that's how things used to be when our country was being built and what made it strong and it's getting away from family that's bringing it down. May God bless you and comfort you.

    Reply

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