Remembering Moments Part 5

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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

Time passed and eventually I was taken upstairs to a room. As my bed was wheeled down the hallway I saw Russ and with him, friends who live in Coeur d’Alene. I later learned that our pastor called a friend of his, a pastor who was much closer to the hospital, who came to be with Russ in the emergency room. He also called friends of his who lived near and had lost their son a few years before; he knew they would be a comfort to us.

The anticipated snowstorm had arrived and Russ didn’t want anybody on the roads coming to see us – not our children, our families, our dear friends from home, or our pastors. What a gift it was to have the Body of Christ show up, even when we were far from home.

The rest of the day was a blur of pain, another MRI, confusion, shock, and friends sitting quietly by our sides. Phone calls flew back and forth between Russ and the kids, our families, our friends. I was detached from nearly all of it. We learned that friends had arranged for Hannah to fly home in the morning and come directly to the hospital.

Doctors and nurses came and went. Sometime the next day, with lots of help, I made it to the bathroom where I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror. My hair was standing up in a matted mess, and my face was swollen with bruises, a black eye, and one distinct bruise that looked like a mustache. My body was covered with bruises, most of which I didn’t see until I was home. We knew I had a fracture in my sacrum; the fracture in my left shoulder hadn’t been discovered yet. My right hand was not working well and my arm was a painful, swollen mess. The injury to my right hip was the most painful of all, with swelling and bruising where the muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissue had been crushed and torn.

More than anything, I wanted to go home and be with my children. I knew they were scared and confused and needed me. I needed them too. Russ and I were desperate to gather them close.

Hannah arrived and what a blessing it was to have her communicating with doctors and nurses for us. Later that morning the nurse who had stopped to help us at the accident came to my room; we learned that she worked on the floor where I was being treated. The gratitude we felt (and continue to feel) toward her was more than we could even say. We talked for a little while, asking her questions, and talking about Kalkidan.

I desperately didn’t want to spend another night at the hospital, my blood (which was one of the greater concerns) was fine, I didn’t need surgery, I just needed to heal. Writing this three months later, I’ll admit, I had no idea what that was going to require. Because I had Hannah and so much personal medical support at home (Michele is a nurse practitioner, and a very close friend is also a physician), my doctor agreed to discharge me. It took well into the evening before the paperwork was complete. Hannah had gone ahead of us and the kids were all together.

I no longer had a single piece of clothing, so my friend, Amy, gathered soft yoga pants, underwear, slippers, socks and warm shirts. I managed to shower while sitting, washing sticks, pieces of glass, and dirt from my hair. My right hand didn’t work, and I couldn’t raise my left arm, so I’m not sure how I showered – it’s odd, but I can’t remember.

One of my hardest moments was about to occur and I had no idea it was coming; I was so relieved to be leaving the hospital. A wheelchair was brought to my room and I was backed into the hallway. Then it hit with such force, I reached for the arm of the nurse and began to quietly sob. She bent down and through my tears I said, “I can’t leave my daughter here. I can’t leave my daughter.” The full force of Kalkidan’s death slammed against me and my heart was broken again.

I couldn’t bear to look at anyone as they wheeled me down the hall. I was crying so desperately that they took me on a back elevator where no visitors or other patients would see me falling apart. I held tightly to Russ’s hand. We got downstairs and the CNA turned to wheel me through the ER waiting room, which was the only entrance still open. I saw the people there and begged her not to take me through them. She turned and we left through the staff entrance.

Amy’s husband was waiting for us, his car already warm. Russ managed to get me buckled in a seat without me placing weight on my right leg or using my arms. He covered me with a blanket and we began the drive home.

We held hands weeping as we drove away from the hospital and our daughter – knowing she would never come home again.

I spoke with one of my older children last week who expressed that reading these posts makes her concerned for me. I want to assure you that, while writing this is difficult, it is also good. I know it is hard to read. Death, tragedy, suffering, sorrow – they are topics we wish we could avoid, but they are part of the world we live in. One day we’ll be in heaven and will never face them again – just think, Kalkidan is already there.

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.

31 Comments

  1. Jennifer
    April 1, 2015

    You are so brave…I am so sorry that you all have had to endure this tragedy.. Even though I don't know you IRL… I pray for you and your family daily…

    Reply
  2. Autumn
    April 1, 2015

    On my knees in prayer for you, dear one. It's all I can do.

    Reply
  3. Chantelle
    April 1, 2015

    Tears again… and more prayers. (((hug)))

    Reply
  4. KarenP
    April 1, 2015

    Oh, Lisa, my heart aches so for you and your family as I read these posts. I truly have no words to offer other than those I offer to Jesus on your behalf. Much love to you from here in Louisiana.

    Reply
  5. Jenny Covey Story
    April 1, 2015

    Oh my dear friend…I weep with you. Thank you again for sharing from your most vulnerable place.

    Reply
  6. Glenda
    April 1, 2015

    Beautiful.

    Reply
  7. Jeannie
    April 1, 2015

    Thank you for sharing Lisa. I can't imagine your pain but I can imagine the One who is holding you and it is beautifully evident in your posts. You are loved and prayed for.

    Reply
  8. Morénike Onaiwu
    April 1, 2015

    No words. Just tears. And love. Yes, she is already there, and one day we will join her!

    Reply
  9. Michelle
    April 1, 2015

    So many tears in reading all this Lisa. The strength of God in your family is so evident. I think back to what you wrote about peace without understanding. (((hugs)))

    Reply
  10. JeffCindy Blair
    April 1, 2015

    Yes Kalkidan is already there, can't wait to see her. This post is so real and precious. Life is full of emotions and we should never be ashamed of them or fear them. God is bringing you His healing touch by your willingness to express your need for Him.

    Reply
  11. Alli
    April 1, 2015

    Oh Lisa… Love and prayers for you. For your family. For Russ. Not a single day goes by in our house without thoughts and mention of Kalkidan. Better is one day in His courts… Easy to say, hard to understand and truly believe. Thanks for your amazing testimony of believing this today! We will continue to pray.

    Reply
  12. blessed
    April 1, 2015

    I'm so glad that this is good for you. Thank you again for sharing your story. My heart grieves with you and for you. (((((hug)))))

    lisa

    Reply
  13. Bev
    April 1, 2015

    I caught my breath while reading this post. So much of what you have written here catches my heart, but more in an empathetic way. I can feel deep feelings but I have not experienced the loss of my child. I have not experienced the loss of a child who required me to fight for her with everything I had and more, and who was on the cusp of healing and whole living.

    But your emotions as you left the hospital, left the body of that precious child behind, that feeling seems to me universal to each of us who have lost someone we love. I feel it as I read it having lost both my father and my father-in-law in the last four months. I remember the sobs of my grandmother as they wheeled my grandfather's body out of her house, now nearly 15 years ago, but still such a vivid memory. "This is the last time he will ever go through that door!" she wailed.

    We know they are no longer in their bodies, but there is such a human connection to that body that I feel it today as I did the day Dad died and I stroked his hair knowing he did not feel it anymore. Thank you for writing.

    A friend gave me a book, Healing After Loss, by Martha Whitmore Hickman. She wrote this devotional after the death of her daughter. It is a couple of quotes and a short paragraph each day…so little, and yet it normalizes what I'm feeling and helps me be gentle with myself. I sense that you are already able to do those things, but I pass along the title just in case you still want one more resource.

    Reply
  14. Carly
    April 1, 2015

    I love you.

    Reply
  15. Ellen
    April 1, 2015

    …"Kalkidan is already there."
    She has passed through all the grief, her own sorrow, fear, pain.
    Just think, one day, you'll be there, too.

    I'm so sorry for the hurt and your loss.

    Reply
  16. Kendali Mercier
    April 1, 2015

    Lisa,
    I wish I could give you a big hug right now. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to write these words but it must feel very therapeutic and give you a sense of closure. I think about Kalkidan, you, Russ and the rest of your family often. I pray for you all and hope you continue to find comfort during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 1, 2015

      Kendali, one day I hope to sit down with you again and talk – and hug you too. I was telling a friend today that you fought so hard for Kalkidan's life, and while it wasn't possible to revive her, you were with her in the moments as she was entering the presence of God. You were a great comfort to Russ when you gave him work to do to help her. You ministered to us in such deep ways and you are forever part of our life story.

      Reply
    2. Laura
      April 1, 2015

      Kendali,
      I don't know if you remember me, but it was my great honor to hug you at Kalkidan's memorial service. I am Lisa's sister, Laura. I am so thankful that you and your husband stopped at the scene of the accident and did so very much for my dear family. As I told you that cold January evening when celebrated Kalkidan, not many people would have stopped and tried so hard to help a stranger. I believe God has a plan in all of this grief and sorrow and while I and everyone else does not understand it and we may never grasp it, perhaps seeing the good in others through your actions is a tiny part of it.

      Reply
  17. Amy Louise
    April 1, 2015

    Sometimes when you have no words to say you should say nothing at all. I hope this isn't one of those times. I would say that there is no right way to grieve and so just do whatever feels best. I am someone who uses visualization and imagery to get through tough times. Since you are a birth mom I'm wondering if the image of you releasing Kalkidan to Jesus to parent would be useful to you. I know it wouldn't make the grief go away but perhaps it would give you an image that would make the periods of grief easier to live through. Picture your girl with her heavenly father always having enough of everything filled with joy and happily preparing for your reunion one day. If this comment causes you pain I am so sorry. You have helped so many. God Bless you. May you feel God's presence every day.

    Reply
  18. Stephanie
    April 1, 2015

    Dear Lisa my heart breaks for you and your family but I trust that God is faithful and He is with you through it all. Thank you for being a source of encouragement for me as a single young adult thinking about adoption. Your love for your children adopted and biological is beautiful and inspiring. Stay in the arms of Jesus and may He gives you peace.

    Reply
  19. Angela
    April 1, 2015

    No words…. just heartfelt understanding in the profound loss of a child.. I won't forget the day and where I exactly stood when it hit me like a ton of bricks that I would never see my daughter again and how definite it was……. nothing could change her being back no matter how my heart grieved!! It does take time and it is good to talk about it! I'm so glad you are sharing!! Thanks, because I know it isn't easy!!

    Reply
  20. Ami
    April 1, 2015

    I was the CNA that took u down to the van. I sobbed for u that night and find myself sobbing for u again as I remember how raw it left us all. I went home only to find my husband broken from the day as well as he found himself treating your daughter in the ER as her pharmacist. One thing I took from all of it was that there was such a storm around you all that night and yet my God stood in the middle of it and whispered a peace that can only come from Him! I long for Beulah land. I pray for your family often, that He continues to breath peace into your lives!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 1, 2015

      Ami, I'm sitting here stunned to read your comment. Thank you. There are so many people who were with us through that difficult time; I hope to meet you again one day. Thank you for grieving with us – for letting yourselves feel our pain. The presence of the Lord was so strong – thank you for your great kindness to us.

      Reply
  21. Jennifer
    April 1, 2015

    I can't imagine all that it is taking to let this story out into the light. May it lighten your path ever so slightly as you walk forward day by day. Sending prayers, wishes and compassion.

    Reply
  22. Laura
    April 1, 2015

    i have been hesitant to comment on your posts, Lisa, as I feel the same as your older child. I worry about how writing this is making you feel—at the same time I know you are a writer and this may be a way of processing it all. I must admit too that even though I know almost everything you are writing from talking to you, Russ, or Hannah, it is still very hard to read and I have teared up so many times. I hope that writing the story is healing for you. Looking forward to another visit next week!

    Reply
  23. Kathy C
    April 1, 2015

    The wrenching grief you felt on leaving your precious Kalkidan behind brought me to tears. As you listen to the songs I just sent you, I pray you will find rest for your soul.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 2, 2015

      Thank you for the songs, Kathy. I look forward to listening to them.

      Reply
  24. Margaret
    April 1, 2015

    You are truly an amazing person, Lisa. thanks you so much for sharing your experiences. I know that your words are healing to others who have been in similar circumstances. I continue to pray for you and your family. I love you dearly as I have for most of my life!

    Reply
  25. Keri
    April 2, 2015

    I have read your blog for years and have prayed for your family and the struggles you've had and shared. I've prayed for you all when I saw this had happened. Thanks for sharing this with us. You are still in my prayers. I won't take a day for granted with my children and will love them while I can. None of us ever know what a day will bring and the testimony you have shared, as difficult as it is helps us to know that the Precious Lord is with us all no matter what we may go through.

    Reply
  26. Bonnie R.
    April 17, 2015

    Dear Lisa, Thank you for sharing your heart again, it is beautiful because it's real. Your courage to walk through the pain instead of avoiding it is so good, so healing. You are not walking alone, Jesus is a faithful friend through all we face in this life. Your story brought a flood of tears…. for you and Russ,and your family and also brought to the surface my own loss…remembering the feeling of leaving the hospital, leaving my precious husband there. As soon as I walked through those doors for the last time, God immediately directed my vision up to where Jesus was and I knew he was holding my husband in his infinite love and care. At that moment, my tears were exchanged for wonder and amazement of His power and grace. May God hold you close.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      April 18, 2015

      Bonnie, your words are a gift to me this morning. I'm praying for you right this moment.

      Reply

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