I didn’t know how hard this would be to write, so I’m going to write it quickly with minimal editing and publish it.
We held on and cried, whispering comfort to each other. A nurse came in and asked Russ if we wanted to see Kalkidan, and without hesitation we said, “Yes.”
They wheeled my bed into a room where Kalkidan was lying on another bed. She was covered to her shoulders with blankets; her left arm was uncovered. There was a tube in her mouth, but otherwise, her face looked beautiful. I reached out to touch her arm and hand. With the brace on my neck and my other injuries, I was nearly unable to move. We hugged, cried, Russ stroked her face and hair.
I remember through the fog thinking, “This can’t be real, this can’t be real.” The pain medications running through my veins were making me very tired and I found myself drifting off and then coming back. I wanted so badly to be clear-headed. I knew this was a moment of huge importance for the rest of my life. How I wished I could get up off the bed and wrap her in my arms, but I felt trapped.
Russ held his hand to my mouth, I kissed it, and then he laid my kiss on Kalkidan’s cheek and forehead. He prayed for her, for us, and traced a cross on her forehead with his thumb – as we do every night when we put our children to bed. She looked beautiful; and terribly still.
Russ tells me that a couple of times a nurse came and asked if we needed more time. Finally they said it was time for us to say goodbye. They wheeled me out of the room and began moving me down the hall to have an MRI. Russ went back into my room and wept.
Next I became aware of a man talking to me, preparing me for the MRI. I asked if he knew my daughter had died and he said he did, and that she was in a better place. I recall thinking he was just speaking platitudes to me, but as he spoke, I realized he actually understood it to be true.
He offered headphones and asked what kind of music I wanted. I remember saying something like, “I don’t know, maybe something peaceful.” He looked in my eyes and said, “How about worship music?” I was so thankful I began to cry, “Yes, worship music is perfect.”
I slept again, but each time I woke, words of life were being sung in my ears and comforting my heart. In the midst of tragedy, I needed Jesus; I desperately needed him near – and he was.
[For the medical providers reading this, and for the rest of us too, I want you to know that the words you speak and the comfort you offer mean more than you can imagine to a person who is hurting. I will never forget the kindness of the MRI tech, or the nurse who held my hand, or the doctor who was so gentle with my heart when he had to give me the worst news a mother could ever receive. You matter – what you say and do in those critical moments has the potential to bring your patient great comfort in their most vulnerable and painful time. You will be forever woven into their story and not forgotten.]
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