Remembering Moments Part 3

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Writing this is becoming more difficult. I’m struck by the large gaps in my memory and the time that is completely gone. I also know that soon I’m going to tell you about losing Kalkidan, and that is unbearable. I’ll press on.

Remembering Moments Part 1 | Remembering Moments Part 2 | Remembering Moments Part 3 | Remembering Moments Part 4 | Remembering Moments Part 5 |Remembering Moments Part 6 | Remembering Moments Part 7

I have a vague memory of Russ telling me he loved me and they would get me out. That is jumbled together with a memory from immediately following the accident when he had unbuckled me but not yet climbed back to check on Kalkidan. He kissed me and told me he loved me and we would be okay.

The next thing I remember is someone breaking a hole through the windshield and looking in. The man told me that they were going to lift the car and get me out. Time passed; I don’t know if it was one minute or ten, then I heard the rumbling sound of a generator.

I felt myself being pulled out through the window and great pain in my right hip.  I was laid on a backboard and lifted. I don’t remember being carried to the ambulance, loaded in, or anything at all. (When Russ read this, he told me that the backboard was laid on a stretcher which had been lowered to the ground and then lifted. He helped them wheel me to the ambulance. The EMTs had arrived and taken over breathing for Kalkidan, so he was able to move between us.)

Perhaps it is God’s mercy to me that I didn’t see the mangled car, my daughter on the ground as emergency workers did all they could to revive her, Russ with blood on his head and face praying over her, traffic stopped on the road, police cars, and ambulances.

Next I remember being in the ambulance, one EMT on each side of me, a woman my age to my right, a younger woman to my left and closer to my feet. I had a large neck brace on which I was sure was making it difficult to breathe. I pulled at it with my right hand and gulped for air.

In my confusion and fear, I asked, “Is my daughter okay?” The older woman paused, put her hand on me and said, “They’re working on her.” I’m not sure how many times I repeated that question over the next hours, but each time I was given a similar response.

They explained that we were meeting a paramedic further up the highway who would check on me. There was great concern because I take Coumadin and the risk of internal bleeding was significant. (Russ later told me that he told every emergency and medical worker he encountered that I was on anticoagulants.) The younger woman told me that they were going to cut my clothes off. I have a slight memory of scissors cutting up the leg of my jeans to my waist.

Time passed again. I have a flash of memory of the paramedic on my left side. I don’t know if he stayed with us the rest of the way or not, nor do I remember arriving at the hospital, being unloaded and wheeled in.

The next thing I can recall is being in a room with people on every side of me. There was a man to my left near my head who was my nurse. I think he was with me for a long time; although I don’t remember ever seeing him, his voice was present. A doctor was on my right talking to me. Medical folks were moving quickly moving around the room. A woman held my left foot up, rubbing it with her hand, “You’re so cold,” she said. I felt the hot prick of a needle as she drew my blood; it registered slightly with me that they urgently needed an INR to determine how thick or thin my blood was.

I asked again (many times), “Is my daughter okay?” They assured me that she was being cared for. I cried, “I need my husband,” also many times, but he was being seen by another doctor.

Time passed. I was rolled through halls – then in a room having a CT – I think my nurse stayed with me holding my hand. Then to another room. By now I’d been given pain medication which was a welcome relief but made everything foggy. At one point I was transferred to another surface, my right foot caught on the blanket and I cried out, “My leg, my leg.”

Time passed again. I opened my eyes to see the trauma doctor on my right; I don’t remember what he was doing. I looked at his kind face and with a tearful voice said, “Is my daughter alive?” He rested his hand on my arm, and gently said, “No, I’m sorry she’s not.” He went on to explain that she had died instantly due to injuries from the impact of the accident. I cried, “Oh no, oh no. I need my husband, I need my husband.”

Minutes (or maybe an hour) later, Russ came through the door, rushed to me and held me as well as he could with the large brace around my neck. His face was on mine, we sobbed, our tears running together.

All for today. Lord have mercy. Friends, please pray for us.

 

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.

41 Comments

  1. Nicole
    March 23, 2015

    My prayers are with you! My best friend died in an accident when she was 25 and I was in the hospital room with her family when the doctors told them she would not survive. I will never forget the anguish in her parents eyes or the terrible feeling in my stomach… Felt it again reading this post. My deepest sympathy. Praying!

    Reply
  2. Luann Yarrow Doman
    March 23, 2015

    Oh Lisa. I can't even imagine. You heard the words that every parent fears most. And you've made it to the other side. Not unscathed, but sustained. Many prayers and much love to you today.

    Reply
  3. Amanda
    March 23, 2015

    I'm so, so sorry for your loss. I have a daughter who share's Kalkidan's birthday, and she is also in Heaven.

    Reply
  4. lucylou99
    March 23, 2015

    I love you Lisa. I am praying.
    Cindy Mc

    Reply
  5. Hannah
    March 23, 2015

    I cannot begin to fathom the depth of your sorrow and pain. I imagine you replay those micro events over and over, longing to change the outcome. As a mother I can imagine no deeper pain than to lose my child. I know that writing this must be such torture, surely it would be easier to shut the door on such pain and loss. God tells us that he works all things for good, to those who love God and are called according to his purpose. Right now those words don't even sound right. Like pouring whiskey into an open wound. Much like when we pour alcohol onto a cut, it may be antiseptic and needed but it brings such pain. It is so hard to see a bigger plan when you're talking about the life of a child. I thank God that she didn't suffer, and that she went straight from her amazing loving family to Jesus. I pray that your grief is tempered somewhat by that knowledge, and that you have a future filled with laughter and joy despite the utter tragedy that your family has been dealt. You are not alone.

    Reply
  6. Sonya Hillrich
    March 23, 2015

    These are the days His mercy runs free & deep.
    I have been praying since the day.
    ~

    Reply
  7. Laurellee
    March 23, 2015

    OH tears tears for you all….we have 7 children…3 adopted and I can't imagine the pain you must be feeling…..my husband lost his 19 yr old brother in a car accident several years and the pain is indescribable I am sure…..how it pained US his siblings but for his parents of course the pain is so much more intense…..OH how much SWEETER Heaven is becoming and how we long for the day of all being together again!!! Praying for you all….May HIs grace and comforting arms wrap you tight!!!
    The Skiles'

    Reply
  8. Rachel R
    March 23, 2015

    Weeping. Praying… to the God of all comfort.

    Reply
  9. Kim
    March 23, 2015

    Oh Lisa, thank you for being so vulnerable to share the details, as difficult as they may be. Please know that your words and tears are not wasted. May sharing this….bring you closer to healing. May the Lord flood you and Russ with sweet memories as you process the difficult ones. I continue to pray for you, Russ and your children.

    Reply
  10. Carly
    March 23, 2015

    Oh, my Friend. There are no words. Thank you for letting us into your pain. I love you.

    Reply
  11. Mary Ostyn
    March 23, 2015

    ahhhhhhh….. praying for you, friend…..
    Love you.
    Mary

    Reply
  12. RussAnita Olson
    March 23, 2015

    Lord, have mercy on Lisa and Russ. May they know your overwhelming comfort. While no one will grieve as they do for their daughter, may they know their tears are seen, their cries heard, and the pain is shared. Give Lisa strength to continue to tell the story, for your glory. Grace and Peace. Amen

    Reply
  13. Chantelle
    March 23, 2015

    Sat here looking at the blinking cursor for the longest time. Speechless. Praying and praying some more for you my sweet friend.

    Reply
  14. Oldqueen
    March 23, 2015

    Oh so incredibly sad. Enormously thankful she knew Jesus.

    Reply
  15. DFNY
    March 23, 2015

    Sobbing as I finished reading this, Lisa. I am so, so sorry.

    Damaris

    Reply
  16. Jewel
    March 23, 2015

    I'm so glad you are writing this down. One day you will be thankful you did. And through the story now you are touching lives, you will continue to touch lives. Showing each one what it looks like to lose someone you love but to trust Him no matter what. Because you know you can, you can trust the God of the Universe who does have control over everything, but doesn't always give us the miracle we want. He will not waste one part of this or any part of your life. HE will never leave you or forsake you. I know that as I read your story and your pain that I am sorry I do not journal. I'm sorry I do not have a record of our tragic journey to see the many ways God has worked and changed our lives. Only have this fallible memory of mine 🙂 Thinking of you, praying for you.

    Reply
  17. Marcy
    March 23, 2015

    "I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way." Ps 142:1-3

    Reply
  18. Jeri
    March 23, 2015

    Oh Lisa, Russ, family, my heart continues to ache for you. Tears. I'm so sorry.

    Reply
  19. Morénike Onaiwu
    March 23, 2015

    I cannot imagine how difficult it has been for you to relive that night. Words cannot express the anguish and hurt that this post represents. Praying for your family.

    Reply
  20. Kate Sumpter
    March 23, 2015

    Grieving with you all. That Saturday night as I read the email my heart sank in disbelief. I couldn't sleep that night or the night after and each moment in the dark was a prayer for you and your family. Again today, I mourn and pray.

    Reply
  21. prayingintruth
    March 23, 2015

    Just weeping….

    Reply
  22. Melissa Joy
    March 23, 2015

    Praying for you, Mrs. Qualls. Thank you for sharing these sacred glimpses into the awful. Thank you for showing us how God was there with you in the horror. We continue to pray, and cry with you & for you…

    Reply
  23. Laurel
    March 23, 2015

    Continuing to lift you all up to Our Heavenly Father . . . for His peace, His strength, His comfort.

    Reply
  24. Erika
    March 23, 2015

    Praying for your family

    God bless you all

    Reply
  25. Ann Hodgman
    March 23, 2015

    Terrible to think of your growing fears about Kalkidan in the midst of so much physical trauma and confusion. The fact that you registered the EMT's pause before she answered shows that at some level you began to suspect the worst well before you actually heard it. What anguish that must have been.

    Reply
  26. sharon
    March 23, 2015

    praying daily for you (I am new to commenting, but realized I shouldn't be scared to tell you I am praying for you).

    Reply
  27. Laine
    March 23, 2015

    Prayers for you and your family.

    Reply
  28. blessed
    March 23, 2015

    Praying for you!!!

    Reply
  29. Angel Finsrud
    March 23, 2015

    You are incredibly brave to tell your story. We are praying for you.

    Reply
  30. A Friend
    March 23, 2015

    I hope that writing this, having it known and shared, brings you comfort. Grief is so lonely as it swallows you up…in my experience sharing it can sometimes relieve that "tunnel vision effect" for a little while. Continuing to pray for you on this long road.

    Reply
  31. Leslie Abernathy Jurado
    March 23, 2015

    I pray that by retelling these events you will find more closure and peace. I feel honored to follow your lives and will never forget Kalkidan. Her beautiful face and life story is burned into my memory.

    Reply
  32. MommaFoster
    March 23, 2015

    We are praying for you. I am thankful for your willingness to share, and pray it brings comfort and healing. The Lord continues to teach me through your words.

    Reply
  33. Laurel
    March 24, 2015

    Just read this and wanted to share . . . an article written by a woman who lost her 15 year old daughter in a car accident . . . about how to move beyond grief, yet acknowledging that you will always be a "grieving mother".
    http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/how-i-manag

    Reply
  34. thandilocks
    March 24, 2015

    Praying for you… The grief, it cannot end

    Reply
  35. Emily
    March 24, 2015

    You are in my prayers, Lisa. Prayers for mercy, for comfort, and for peace.

    Reply
  36. Angela
    March 24, 2015

    How brave you are to share….. tears….. just can't imagine the tragedy!!!! Thanks for sharing…

    Reply
  37. Elizabeth
    March 25, 2015

    It is not an outcome I was expecting reading your blog and getting a peek into your family's story. It was comfort to read your thoughts, knowing you understood the pain of being family to trauma. And even though I now cry basically every time I read your blog, wondering how you manage to even put two words together, I know it is not over. I know your family's story is not done. God hasn't set down his paint brush. It is not the outcome anyone expected or wanted and yet it will be a glorious unfolding. How? I don't know. I do know that my family has experienced a different kind of tragedy, it is hard to imagine life just going on. How can others be normal when this is happening? Will we ever be normal again, No, that is impossible, we thought. But then the flowers started coming. Not always physical flowers, but that is what we started calling small acts of kindness in which we could sense our Father's love. The pain is intense, or so intense, and the Father's love is just as intense. So, though this chapter is shocking, I am still blessed by your grace-filled yet raw words. May you be free to embrace the pain and may you also continue to see the flowers.

    Reply
  38. Karen Twombly
    March 25, 2015

    I am praying for God's peace for you. I don't know any of you and my sadness is great so I can only imagine…and I am praying.

    Reply
  39. Brian
    April 1, 2015

    I just found your blog ( facebook reference). My granddaughter Haley Windsor was a friend or acquaintance of your daughter , Kalkidan. I am sorry for your loss. I have suffered the pain of losing a child. Jake would have been Haleys uncle but died in a hiking accident at age 17. As you have found, most of the healing has come from Kalkidan. Her memory and the fact that her spirit has given you (and all that new her) a new awareness and outlook of life and living is her gift. I pray that sooner rather than later, your thoughts as you see her picture or pass her room are those of joy that you got to have and love her. Not these moments and often days of anguish that most likely present now. Brian Windsor

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 1, 2015

      Brian, thank you for taking a moment to comment. I'm so sorry that you lost your son. Kalkidan changed us in so many ways – probably in many we haven't even yet discovered. Please thank Haley for being a sweet friend to Kalkidan.

      Reply
  40. Jennifer
    April 1, 2015

    So many prayers. So many tears. My heart aches for you and for your family.

    Reply

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