I didn’t plan to write about loss today because I’m trying not to feel – pushing away the emotions threatening to bubble up and overtake me.
I think, “I don’t have time for this. I can’t spend a day crying, and if I start, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop.”
What does loss feel like to you? Do you try to hold it off, or press it down?
Zoe came in the door after school with an unexpected Amazon box from the front porch. I sifted through my mind, but couldn’t think of anything I’d ordered.
It was addressed to me and the word “gift” in the corner of the shipping label caught my eye.
My birthday isn’t for three months, there are no holidays…oh, wait.
Kalkidan’s birthday is October 29th, maybe someone remembered her.
I opened the Amazon box to find a smaller box with the word “heaven” on the label. Inside was a candle with a quote curving around the ceramic holder. She wasn’t forgotten; she was loved and we were loved.
Her birthday is coming, whether I’m ready or not.
I remember the first birthday she was gone. I would love to say I was so fully at peace with God, I was just fine. In fact, I was an anxious mess; I couldn’t bear it as the day approached.
Then the 29th came and our family wore her favorite color (orange), as did friends, family, and many of you (thank you). Together we posted pictures on Facebook and Instagram, and you know what? We weren’t alone.
One of the worst things about losing a child is the fear she’ll be forgotten.
Other kids are growing older, year by year, but Kalkidan will never be older than 13. Just typing that creates a weight in my chest. I want to walk away from this computer and not come back for days.
How could this have happened?
If we hadn’t stopped to put overdue Christmas cards in the mailbox, if I hadn’t let Kalkidan sit behind me, if we had left just a few minutes earlier, everything would have been different. I didn’t keep her safe.
I can’t seem to escape the way grief and the feeling of not being a good enough mom are entwined. Do you ever feel that way?
I should write something like, “I know these are lies from the enemy of my soul, the one who accuses me at every turn,” but I can’t quite say it today.
Losing a child changed me.
Parenting children living with the effects of early trauma brought me to my knees. Everything I believed about myself seemed to fall away in the face of constant failure. Judgment from people, especially people who also love Jesus, broke me.
And then, we lost her.
I’ll probably edit this tomorrow, removing the soul-baring questions. I’ll feel stronger; maybe I’ll have pushed the emotions down a little bit better. Or maybe not.
One thing I know, I’ll be wearing orange and have Kalkidan’s Ethiopian cross around my neck on October 29th. I’ll reach up to touch it many times during the day, just as I do every time I wear this treasure.
This morning Wogayu asked for a chain to wear with a small silver “K.” The charm was originally tied to a stuffed animal, a gift from his aunt when Kalkidan died. Today he left for school with it around his neck.
We wear our love for her close to our hearts.
On her birthday, I’ll do my best to honor her life and all she taught me.
Friend, if you’ve lost someone you love, I’m with you. If you have hopes that will never be realized, I understand. If you have prayers that seem to be unheard, know that you are not alone.
I don’t understand many things, but I know we’re loved by a good Father and we’re still in the middle of God’s story for our lives.
With love and a tender heart,