In the days following the accident, a wise psychologist and friend came to our home to meet with with our family. He talked about grief and what we all might feel and experience. Then he said something that I’ve thought of many times since that day.
He said we would experience “the profound presence of absence.”
Think about that for a minute.
What we are feeling so deeply is Kalkidan’s absence. It’s hard to express, but for a small person, she had a very big presence. She had amazing energy; when she walked in the room, our attention was drawn to her. She asked a lot of questions, moved quickly, left things all over the house, opened cupboards and didn’t shut them, listened to music, talked on the phone, and was rarely quiet.
Our thoughts were often on her.
I spent hours thinking of Kalkidan, planning for her, researching, reading, writing – I can’t begin to guess how many of my 1600+ blog posts were prompted by her.
Yesterday I walked into her room and, for just a moment, I sat down on her bed. The impact of realizing she would never sleep there again just about did me in. I had to stand up, and for some reason, thump my chest with my fist – almost like trying to dislodge the overwhelming bad feeling. I went upstairs and tried to carry on with the day. It took a couple of hours before the profound presence of absence settled back into a dull ache, but it did.
We talk about Kalkidan every day. We intentionally mention her at the dinner table and around the younger children. They need to know that we all miss her and it’s good to talk about her, cry, or just be sad. Mad feelings are okay too. There’s no getting around the fact that it is terrible to lose a sister.
We trust God and we love him with all our hearts – but we still really hate that Kalkidan is not with us. [As I reread that last sentence, I contemplated how I could make it sound more spiritual, but the truth is, we do hate this. It feels terrible and we wish so much that she wasn’t gone.]
I know she is with Jesus, I know she is filled with joy, I know she will never suffer or struggle again – but I don’t like being left here with the weight of the profound presence of absence.
I’ll close by telling you that we are okay – we really are. The Lord is healing my body; I even drove for the first time this week. Most days the kids go to school (an hour or two late on occasion), I go to physical therapy, Russ goes to work. Wonderful dinners continue to arrive in my kitchen a few nights a week; what a gift that has been. We are making it through one day after another.
One day soon I’ll even blog about something other than grief and loss – I promise. Until then, thank you for reading and being with us.