Paper Airplanes

A paper airplane volcano 2

Last Monday was the 27th, seven months since we said goodbye. Being in a Third World country for the first time, far away from home and my family, the hole in my heart felt all the more profound. I really wanted to do something special to remember my sister and celebrate her life.

A paper airplane volcano

As we loaded the bus, I found out we were going to a volcano, so I started ripping out blank pages from my journal and folding them into little paper airplanes. On mine, I wrote a letter. On each of the other twenty, I wrote one word for my sister: generous, colorful, sister, daughter, basketball, friend, champion, loved…

When we got there, the coordinators made some announcements and everyone prepared to get off the bus. Most of the people in my group of twenty didn’t know it was the 7 month anniversary, and some didn’t even know I had lost my sister, so I felt pretty nervous when my friend suggested that I share my plan with all of them. But when I told them what I wanted to do, the response was beautiful. They hugged me and everyone came to get an airplane, reading theirs silently.

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Then we all walked to the volcano. They asked if I wanted to say something and I suggested that everyone read their word aloud. I stood along the edge and listened to twenty different voices of people I hadn’t even known three weeks earlier proclaim some of my favorite things about my sister. Then on the count of three, we flew our paper airplanes out over the volcano.

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This moment was very meaningful for me because, over the last several months as I’ve experienced different milestones, I’ve been thinking about all the things Kalkidan won’t ever get to experience. During my senior year, when I graduated, when I got into college, when I traveled internationally for the first time, I thought of her. I want to travel the world and have all of those experiences for her. At the top of every mountain and volcano, in the midst of swirling and crashing waves, and in every adventure life has to offer, she will be there with me.

I love you, Kalkidan.

A paper airplane volcano 6

I just got back from an incredible three week trip to the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. When I told Mom my story, she invited me to write this post.

Annarose

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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.

27 Comments

  1. Alaina
    August 3, 2015

    Thank you so much for sharing this and for being courageous enough to share the story with those you were with to create a moment to remember.

    Reply
  2. Mary Ostyn
    August 3, 2015

    Lovely….

    Reply
  3. Melissa Joy
    August 3, 2015

    Beautiful. Cutting. Deep. Touching. Astounding. Provoking. Bittersweet. Tearful. Meaningful. Testimonial. Incredible. Poignant. Artful. Heartfelt. Monumental. Painful. Sweet. Emotive. Affecting. Effective.

    Just the first twenty words on my heart after reading this, Annarose. Thank you for sharing your love for your sister, and such a neat way to share that anniversary…

    Reply
  4. jen
    August 3, 2015

    Stunningly beautiful!
    Your story aches of grief, yet the thought of all those words spoken aloud and the airplanes released to fly gives such great hope! Thank you so much for sharing your heart here!

    Reply
  5. Shelly Garay
    August 3, 2015

    This is absolutely beautiful, and really touched my heart! What a heartfelt way to honor the memory and attributes of your sister! I lost my sister 6 years ago when she was just 54, I still think of her and many of the things she had yet to experience in life. I love the idea that you will experience so many new things and carry your precious sister along with you in your heart. I have followed this blog a very long time and have never commented. Today I felt compelled to do so. Thank you.

    Reply
  6. Emily
    August 3, 2015

    We love you so much, Annarosie!!

    Reply
  7. AmyE
    August 3, 2015

    Incredibly beautiful, Annarose! Tears flowing freely as I read your beautiful words. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply
  8. Jamie
    August 3, 2015

    This was so beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

    Reply
  9. Ann
    August 3, 2015

    beautiful!

    Reply
  10. Michelle
    August 3, 2015

    Beautiful, in so many ways…thank you for sharing this story.

    Reply
  11. Charlotte Roose
    August 3, 2015

    Hey Annarose,
    I'm a really good friend of your sister MK's.
    Reading this I got shivers down my entire body and then the tears ensued.
    I've been down the road of losing a sibling and know that a moment like this must have felt indescribeable.
    I hope you had an absolutely amazing time on your trip 🙂

    Reply
  12. An amazing story. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  13. Sonya Hillrich
    August 3, 2015

    Oh.my.goodness.
    Annarose, your depth and determination to walk this journey with love is so beautiful.
    Thanks for being willing to share your story here, it must feel very personal to you. So we receive it with tenderness & grace. Keep feeling all the feelings, and going all the places, so you can watch God keep writing His story in you.
    ~

    Reply
  14. mommafoster
    August 3, 2015

    I so glad you shared your story, Annarose. It was beautiful.

    Reply
  15. Karen Twombly
    August 4, 2015

    Beautiful!! So touching… Is that a picture of Crater Lake in Catalina? I adopted a sib group of 4 sweeties from Nicaragua, living their for 5 mos. to complete our adoption. It is a beautiful country of beautiful people!!

    Reply
  16. Joelle
    August 4, 2015

    Hugs and kisses…

    Reply
  17. Laura
    August 4, 2015

    Ah Annarose, what a wonderful way to honor Kalkidan on your trip. It brought tears to my eyes as I thought of you and your new friends reading the words you wrote and then the planes flying out over the volcano—sort of the way the life and spirit of Kalkidan is reaching and touching so many people beyond those of us in her family. I love you bunches. Aunt Laura

    Reply
  18. Sharon
    August 4, 2015

    Beautiful. And I love how brave you are to take the steps to walk through the grief and vulnerably share it.

    Reply
  19. Jeri
    August 4, 2015

    From your fingers, words of love have never been stronger. Beautiful.

    Reply
  20. Saba
    August 4, 2015

    Beautiful! Touching.

    Reply
  21. trhanna
    August 4, 2015

    This is just beautiful ..thank you for sharing it with us! Heather

    Reply
  22. Barbara D. Johnson
    August 4, 2015

    Heartwarming! Love that the response to your plan was so encouraging for you, and that you felt free to open your heart and show them the love you had for your sister!! Amazing!

    Reply
  23. Elizabeth
    August 5, 2015

    Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  24. lucylou99
    August 5, 2015

    You left me in a puddle this morning. What a lovely thing to do. Prayers and blessings for your family.
    Love, Cindy Mc

    Reply
  25. Karen
    August 5, 2015

    Beautiful and such a precious thing to do! (Thank you for sharing! You have helped to encourage me to share more with others as our family walks through the journey of recovery from a devastating car accident that resulted in my son being severely injured and with a permanent traumatic brain injury.)

    Reply
  26. Jennifer
    August 8, 2015

    I love your bravery Annarose. Is it courage that allows one to be open and vulnerable, to let others see our pain, our sorrow, our joy? Whatever it is you have it in spades. I feel blessed to have been able to read this beautiful tribute to your sister.

    Reply
  27. Larin
    August 14, 2015

    That was wonderful Anne darling! I love you so much.

    Reply

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