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Hard Days

When my kids were small, I loved being the room mom in their classes. One of the tricks I learned early on was to ask the teacher what some of their favorite things were. I created a little "get to know you" sheet that I used often, and it helped me all year to treat them to things they actually really enjoyed. Over the years, I have made a similar sheet with friends, colleagues, groups, and even family. It makes it fun and easy to cheer for others. Knowing some of their favorite things, as well as important dates, really has come in handy many times.

But over time, I started asking not only for big days like birthdays or anniversaries, but for hard days. Not everyone responded, but I found that sometimes just remembering a day that was difficult for someone - even if I didn't know why - helped them mark a milestone and feel less alone.

Today is one of those days for me. March 14 is a hard milestone. In 1998, this is the day we lost our first child. It feels like a long time ago, but I never want to forget her. No one else ever really knew her, and even John and I really never got the chance.

For hard days, for getting through them, for revisiting them, even when others don't know or remember - here's to you, to me, to us. For the days when our hearts feel shattered, I salute you. You made it, even when you felt you couldn't take another breath.

I hope when you face hard days, cross milestones, experience grief - I hope you never feel alone. Walking alongside others makes all the difference. For those who stand with us on the hard days - we give thanks.

It has been 26 years since March 14, 1998. I have fortunately had a lot of celebrating since then, but I have never forgotten the sting of that loss. Time may not heal all wounds, but it usually softens the blow.

A reminder: We've heard the quote way too often, and it has been attributed to all kinds of people, but the sentiment is still true: Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

For whatever you hold on your hard days, for whatever tender bruises you keep - may you feel the presence of God, the comfort of friends, and the hope of healing.

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