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Grieving Kids & Their Vulnerable Hearts

This gave me all the feels today. It feels like these 3 were just babies and I blinked and now they are big school aged kids that will probably be taller than me in a few more years. Only one of them is mine but they all have my heart.

The day Greg and I first toured the neighborhood we still call home, we met the girls’ dad. The one on the right was just a baby and the girl in the middle was a two year old down for a nap. We were excited that there was a family with kids around P’s age and we quickly became friends when we moved in a month later.

I’ll never forget the morning a neighbor knocked on my door to say their dad had died. My legs immediately went weak and I had to sit down as the whole world seemed to spin. For the next couple years I watched their mom walk through grief. She was the first young widow I knew. I remember thinking how odd it was that she was widowed and I still had Greg. Her husband was healthy and mine couldn’t seem to go more than a few months without a medical crisis. It just didn’t make sense.

His death was a wake up call for me and Greg- one that reminded us of how fragile life is and helped us prioritize our marriage and our family in new ways after a hard season.

And then a few years later, she was the one getting the news through the grapevine and I was the one living a nightmare. I knew from

Watching her that widowhood was awful but it turns out I’d had no idea just how awful awful can be.

That was years ago and we’re still here- neighbors who have each other’s backs when life falls apart. Our kids have drifted apart and gotten closer at different times over the years but they seem to have a bond that I wonder if they even fully understand.

Unlike adults, kids grow into their grief as they age. Their journeys of losing their dads are far from over. Some people would look at them and think, “How resilient!”. And maybe they are, but only because they’ve had no choice. It’s like when people tell widows, “You’re so strong!” without having any idea that they are hanging on by a thread. These three look like every other kid, but they carry deep scars inside. I wish people would stop saying that kids are resilient and start staying instead that kids are vulnerable and need a lot of love and help to heal.

Life keeps changing and so do they. Only God knows what each of them carry in their hearts.

I teared up a bit this morning watching them face the world another day without their dads. My how proud their daddies would be.

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