Monday, May 16, 2011

an unexpected grief

I almost didn't write this post.

In fact, I have started and stopped too many times to count, each time wiping away the hot tears running down my face. My eyes are burning and I feel like at any given moment, my emotions will pour out of me like a river on its course.

Swift and steady.

With a forward destination.

Right now I feel like a stick that is floating along in that swift current, wanting to move forward, but stuck on the corner of a rock. Instead of progressing down the river, I am delayed. Everything else is moving forward around me, some things slower, some things faster.

But I am stuck. At least for right now.

After spending a month with our family, our Ethiopian host child boarded a plane with four other children and a chaperone this past Monday. Headed back to Addis; back to normal life.

And we're back to normal life too, the six of us. But the house sure does seem empty.

No theme music from Angry Birds playing in the kitchen...
No requests to watch Spider Man or the Karate Kid...
No neighborhood soccer games...
No piggy back rides and wrestling matches for David...
All pasta dishes have come to a halt...

It's strange. He was only with us for a month, but he just fit in. He squeezed right in the lineup behind Abbie but in front of David and Jayda. It wasn't a perfect month. There were challenges, mostly for my oldest son Stephen, but we all learned so much about how to love and care for others sacrificially. I learned afresh that kids are kids, regardless of what country they were born in.

I didn't expect to cry at the airport. I felt accepting of the situation before us. {name} woke up happy and seemed perfectly fine when he saw his packed bags by the front door. David was another story.

"Why does {name} have to go?" he inquired with a furrowed brow.

It's not easy for a just turned 4 year old to understand why his new friend and "brother" has to leave and live so far away.

After driving 2 hours and 40 minutes, most of which seemed to be spent sitting on 495, we arrived at Dulles. While the luggage was being handled, we got a chance to say our goodbyes.

As {name} could tell that the time was really coming to an end, his sat and dropped his head down, hands grasped together in front of him. My precious little Abbie; my girl with such a big ol' tender heart, knelt down beside {name} and told him how much she loved having him here. The interpreter translated for her and our little guy's head seemed to drop even lower. Turned out he was crying; grief finally showing itself in tears.

This led to Abbie falling into my arms crying.

One of my arms was on {name} and the other one was holding my girl with the big heart.

When Stephen was done helping with the luggage, he made his way over to our little crying huddle and expressed his thoughts to {name}. He then reached out his hand and rubbed {name's} little head that was bent down so low. So low in grief.

At this point, my little duo of David and Jayda ran over to us and wanted to hug {name}. With head finally raised and tears wiped away, he hugged each of them back. Next he hugged Abbie. Then me. Then Matt.

But he saved his last and tightest hug for Stephen.

Then, within a flash, the children were gathered and walking away from us, led by our fantastic Welcoming Angels director.

We yelled our final goodbyes and even waved, but {name} never turned around.

The following day, we learned that the children all arrived safely in Addis.

Back home.


  1. I am trying to put into words what seems like just emotion. Praying. Love...Thinking of you.

  2. Man, I miss them! What a bittersweet moment in time :)

  3. I am wiping my own tears as I read your story. He truly was a sweetie and I will pray for him and for ya'll.