I have this image of Edem about seven years ago...
We were at our place in the Sandy Hill Co-op. We had her and a few friends over for dinner and she insisted on washing our dishes after we'd fed everyone. It was the first time I observed her dishwashing technique: she lathers and scrubs the dishes until they are a big, thick, soapy stack beside the sink. Then she rinses the bubbles off one at a time. As we chatted and as her dishwashing progressed, she got all animated and high-pitched and giggly. I had seen her like that before - subdued Edem come to life - but that's one of my first memories of early Edem fully herself.
I didn't know then that one day she would live with us and I would have many more opportunities to watch her unique dishwashing technique and many more times I would see her fully herself. That we would share countless kitchen moments... crying and laughing and everything in between. Some of my favourite times with her over these past three years has been cooking together or sitting at our kitchen table chatting.
Yesterday Edem moved to Toronto to do her PhD.
She and Adriana and Michelle left at 5 in the morning. We said good night the night before but I heard the door shut as she headed out. Once I realized she was gone, I lay awake and couldn't sleep because I kept thinking of how she wasn't there. How I wouldn't hear her laugh echoing through our ductwork anymore. How Isaac wouldn't sneak down to the basement to see her. All the little things about her living with us... I just couldn't stop thinking about the void she was leaving.
Since we found out that she was moving away, Ben and I have said to each other, "We'll miss Edem" at significant times. The last time Ben said it to me was after a Sunday morning meeting at ANC. Edem had prayed out during worship... she gives 'er like that. Just prayed up a powerful, prophetic voice. And Ben said to me, "We'll miss Edem." He meant we as in our church community.
When Isaac said "hi Ellum" as she emerged from the basement one morning, like she'd always been here and always would be, we told each other we'd miss her. We meant we'd miss her on behalf of Isaac. He doesn't realize the impact she's had on his life. He doesn't know that not everyone has an Edem living with them in the first three years of their life. He'll miss her but he won't quite realize that he's missing her.
I wrote a post about Edem almost a year ago. About holding her with hands open... because we knew she wouldn't be with us for forever. Too bad we couldn't hold on tight to her. But really, we're so happy for what's ahead. She can't be contained.
We know she'll come back and sit awhile at our kitchen table...
...maybe we'll cook together and chat ...
...and she'll get all animated and she'll tell us about her adventures.