November 2018 Column Winner

The most beautiful heartache
Kaycee Campbell, Countywide & Sun

When most people think of loss and grief it’s of a loved one they have lost; a Mom, a Dad, a grandma, or granddad, sister, brother, or close friend. Sometimes it’s the loss of a child taken far before their time.
Holidays usually bring up raw emotions of our loved ones that we no longer get to share the day with. But the memories we have of them stays with us and often times can leave us smiling at the thought of them while heart broken that they will never get to share the holiday with us again.
Loss and grief are a constant our family deals with. Our six foster babies have all suffered great losses.
All grieve the loss of a holiday with their moms, dads, aunts, uncles, granddads and grandmas. Each holiday is another memory, another moment they can never get back.
It had been two months and six-days since I saw their smiling faces, since I heard their contagious genuine laughter. Thoughts rushed through my head as we drove to their new home. Did I give enough time? Did I give too much time? Will it cause more heartache or pain for them if I visit? Will it cause more confusion? Will this disrupt the attachment they are building to their new forever mommy and daddy?
As we pulled up the drive and I exited the van all of that swept away. We had raised them for over a year. Our sweet foster babies… We fought for them. We fought for this. And here we were.
As little sister ran up to me a tear entered my eye. She was walking! She was running! In a short two months she had learned to walk AND run. As I wrapped her in my arms I thought to myself how lucky am I to get the chance to visit her, to hold her, to watch her grow?
Big sister smiled and gave me a hug then turned around with a big smile and pointed to her forever mama and said “mommy” with certainty.
Saying goodbye to these sweet girls was so hard. The mornings are the hardest part of the day without them.
They were the happiest babies in the morning.
But how lucky are we to have played a part in their forever; a part in keeping them together; a part in their happily ever after?
How fortunate are we to witness first hand the blessings God had planned for them?
Many times when individuals hear I’m a foster parent they respond, “I could never do that. I would grow too attached. It would hurt too much when they leave.”
Yes, yes and yes. But you can do it, just as we can and do.
To love is to risk losing, whether a spouse, a friend or a child. To love is to be willing to risk losing but to choose to love anyways. To love is to choose the pain of great loss and unbearable grief to lessen their heartache and their pain. To love is to keep sisters like those sweet babies together, to keep siblings together.
My husband and I have now grieved the loss of four children and we will soon grieve the loss of three more.
But our grief is worth every moment of joy, belonging and safety our foster loves feel.
It is worth losing our babies so that our babies don’t lose each other. It is worth all the grief so our precious foster loves gain exactly what God has in store for them.

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