Our blended family experienced a couple of recent losses. One of which I have not spoken or written much about, due to the nature of the loss. Out of respect for privacy of people I care about, I did not want to bring any attention to the negative part of what happened. However, my lovely daughters reminded me this holiday season what it means to turn something negative into something positive–the very thing we have tried to instill with our blended-family all along. I try to be a positive person–to inspire others. If I can leave one mark on this planet it would be to raise two strong, independent, caring, loving, talented, and soulful women. One of our family members struggled for a very long time with depression and chose to take his own life in October. This profoundly effected everyone in my family, especially my children, and other people close to them. The most difficult part of grief, I think, is watching those closest to you suffer.

All this time I have been so worried about my daughters. As a parent, you always wonder how children will react to the horrors of the world, especially when they hit so close to home. None of us want to deliver the news of an immediate family member taking their own life. I feared what that would mean for them and their view of the world. As a mom, I so badly wanted to protect their hearts from the pain, but in this instance, there was no way to do so. Reality saw to that. All we could do was be truthful, patient, and be present.

trish and the girls

Ali (Trish’s oldest daughter), Trish, and Cami

A couple of weeks ago, my daughters also lost their great-grandma. This Christmas they both chose very thoughtful gifts. Ali painted a watercolor painting for her father, of her uncle kneeling with the tangerine sunset sky behind him, and a quote from the eulogy her dad read. I bought a frame for her, and my husband helped her cut the mat. Cami chose a sterling silver plaque for her dad and Molly that contained the poem quoted at the below. When I dropped the girls off at their dad’s house on Christmas morning, I was able to watch them open their gifts. I was profoundly proud of my daughters in that moment.

The Broken Chain – Unknown

We little knew that morning
that God was going to call your name,
in life we loved you dearly; in death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone.
For part of us went with you, the day God called you home.
You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide,
and though we cannot see you, you are always at our side.
Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.

Cami gave me a sterling silver infinity necklace. It came with a saying, every ending is a new beginning. The joy is in the journey.

I realized this Christmas, that my kids are listening to us, even in those times when it seems like they are just stubborn teen and preteen girls. We are raising independent, smart, loving, talented, and soul-full young women. This holiday season they were thinking of how to make those people they love most happy. I am grateful every second of every day for these lovely two beings I am able to parent, even at those times when they drive me absolutely crazy. There is beauty in the present moment, in the chaos, in the joy, in the pain, and in the healing.

 Infinity2Infinity Necklace

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Trish Eklund

Trish Eklund is a 40-something mom of two, a lover of words, a photographer of the abandoned, and a co-parent with her blended family. She has been a Nebraska transplant for the last 17 years. Learn more about Trish at her blended family website, http://familyfusioncommunity.com/ and her photography website, http://abandonedforgottendecayed.com/, and the Huffington Post Divorce Page. Her abandoned photography has been featured on Only in Your State-Nebraska. Trish Eklund has an essay, Happy Endings, in the anthology, Hey, Who’s In My House? Stepkids Speak Out by Erin Mantz.