Today one of my students asked me if my daughters were Anna and Abigail, “you know the girls that died in the leaves.”

My heart instantly hurt. I never say that my daughters died, never. I only say that Anna and Abigail went to Heaven, because that is what happened.

“Yes, Anna and Abigail are my daughters and yes, they went to Heaven.”

A couple of other students started talking about the worst night of my life with details they heard on the news or maybe overheard from their parents. I stopped them and let them know that if they wanted to know about Anna and Abigail and all of their wonderful qualities and gifts I would love to talk to them for hours about it all, but hearing the details from “the tragedy” of my life hurts my heart and I would appreciate it if they wouldn’t talk about it right now. One student decided that he wanted to continue to show the rest how much he knew of the story, my story. I stopped him and asked again politely with tears in my eyes.

He got it.

One girl asked if I was sad.

One student, a girl about Anna’s size, stood up and wrapped her arms around me. I held her tight and said thank you.

These young hearts have so many questions. I can’t make sense of my loss how could we ever expect these little minds to make sense of it all.

All I can do is be honest with them, answer their question and let them know when my pain is too great and I can’t talk about it. I will continue to share stories about my family, my life and our love story in hopes that they see that even in the depths of sorrow there is joy to be found. I will also let them see my raw emotion, because all of us are entitled to feel sad and to show that sadness to the world ~ even their PE teacher.

I shared with the class, “there isn’t a second that goes by that my heart isn’t sad and aching the loss of my daughters, I miss them so much.  Daily I get a choose on what I am going to do with that sadness, today I woke up and decided to choose to come to work and teach you all how to play a really fun game, do you want play?”

They all yelled, “yes!”


16 thoughts on “Raw

  1. I gently taught my grandchildren that our family members do not die, they are angels in heaven and live in on our hearts forever.
    Bless your heart and may God continue to give you the grace and glory that you share about Anna and Abigail. Angels forever.


  2. My heart aches with you, Susan. You are walking this journey with such grace and raw beauty. Your focus is inspiring. Yes, your (our!) girls are in heaven most likely playing together!
    – Julie
    (Vienne’s Grammy)


    1. Thank you Julie ❤ Tom and I were just talking about you all and saying it would be nice to get together again soon. Hope all is well.


  3. Oh Susan… there certainly was a quiet soul watching this all play out from the back of the class who will now have a role model for how to speak their truth. How to remind people to use the words and verb tenses that work for his or her story. I know we tell you often about the joy and love that you spread. But so many of us are being deeply touched with new ideas about how to speak our truth, both in joy and sorrow, and take one day at a time.

    Big hugs.

    PS what was the game you taught them?

    PPS I would love to sit and have a hot drink with you and just listen and listen to you share stories about your wonderful daughters.


    1. love you Shannon…I think that hot drink will have to be in your country. I’ll pack the little one up and we will head your way ❤


  4. Oh friend….I don’t think I’ve wanted to give you a hug more then I do right now. I love you. You are the bravest women I have ever known….constantly digging deep to find joy. Even though it hurts. I miss you.


  5. HUGS! Sounds like a very difficult day, but it also sounds like you truly helped some children grow today — and they will be more sensitive, compassionate, caring people because of what you said and did. You, and Anna and Abigail helped those children today. Bless you!!!


  6. Susan,
    My heart aches with you. I have been thinking about you a lot lately and I know now how hard it is to choose to be happy, but sometimes it helps just to be sad. I hope to see you soon ❤
    Love and Prayers, to you and Tom


  7. I would give anything to be closer. Words seem to fail in comparison to the hug or the presence of a friend on days like these. May you feel held in the love and the prayers I send your way daily, but especially today. Love and miss you dearest friend.


  8. I am hugging you hard with prayers right now. I think you are so strong to let them see your raw emotions. Obviously you teach these young people much more than P.E. Love, Hug and Prayers………….Always!


  9. Susan,
    You are beautiful. So beautiful with a heart that is open and present and loving. Thank you. Someday my heart will be broken and raw. Grieving for a loved one. I hope then that I will remember your words. That each and every day I have the choice of how to live. My life has been forever changed by the gift of knowing you. And the gift of loving Anna and Abby through you. Love to you on this day, and every day forever.


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