On Friday, September 29th, 2017, time stopped at 11:30 am. In life, sometimes things happen that stick in your mind and play over and over like a bad rerun. “The parents have been clean for 2 weeks” will sit at the forefront of my mind for a while to come. On this day, our first set of foster children were returned to their parents for a “trial placement.”
Our job now was to go home and get their stuff packed to go back to their house. Devastated. Destroyed. Our emotions were completely shattered. There really are no words to describe the feeling. It’s as close as I could imagine how it might feel to lose a child. (Technically we did.)
So we started packing. Everything reminded us of them. There was not a single thing that didn’t trigger a memory. There were still dirty dishes from the last meal we’d eaten. The banana with little bites taken out of it. The random sock in the corner. The shoes with chewed soles. The sippy cup of milk left in the fridge. Feeding the fish.
The silence was deafening…it tore through us like grenade shrapnel and left no part of our hearts unscathed. There were no pitter patter of feet on the kitchen floor. No requests to watch Goldilocks. No one coming up for random hugs. No one yelling “No” at us. No one to snuggle on the couch. Just…defeaning….painful…silence. Not only did we feel our hearts break, but we could hear it happen.
So…here we are on the day after they’ve gone back. It feels weird. A bit like being at the scene of some awful incident and you just can’t believe it happened. We packed, albeit slowly. We cried a lot. Each box was packed with care. They left with a lot more than they came with. Hopefully they left with more than just tangible things. Hopefully they left with hearts full of love and hope. And we refused to use garbage bags. Though we sent quite a bit back, their remnants will be with us for long after they are gone.
We met the mother…where else but the Walmart parking lot. We gave her the stuff and we shared some feelings with her. Thankfully, these parents seem like people we could meet up with if we wanted to. They don’t seem hateful or anything like that. She said we could visit and meet from time to time. We aren’t sure we believe it, but time will tell.
We went back home…and cried some more. We dropped them off for daycare as usual and in an instant…they were gone. We’ll go through the grieving process and somehow move on. At some point, time will move for us again. The house will again feel like home instead of the set of a horror film. It will take time to heal, but for now, it hurts.
For now…it hurts.
Take care of each other,