We started a new book in class yesterday. A book in which there is mystery, humor, and loss. Pre-reading discussion always helps kids get excited about a book, so I started in my normal way.

We discussed the author, the book cover, the title……

We made predictions…….

And then I asked a few questions to help them feel connected to the main character.

“Have you ever been on a long road trip in a car?” I asked. Hands shot up all through the room. Oh, the stories I heard about kids going as far as Florida and as close as Huntington! These kids crack me up. I shared my memories of riding in the back seat of our family’s car back and forth to Oklahoma as a little girl and how my sister and I were always sure the other person had more room…we would draw an imaginary line to make sure the boundary was not crossed by even a toe!

Then I asked, “Have you ever had a friend or relative move far away or pass away leaving you feeling very sad?”tear

Faces changed, but hands went up in the air again.

“My papaw, my uncle, my aunt, my mom”…….and the list went on and on……..so I shared too.

I shared briefly, but I shared enough to let them know that I was a grieving mom. Most of them didn’t know. I told them that there might be times that I wouldn’t be able to read. I told them there might be times when they wouldn’t want to read. I want them to feel safe in my room.

Safe with their tears and safe with not wanting to have tears.

grief hands

I know my kids on a different level now. We’ve laughed deeply and we’ve shared sad memories deeply.

Opening my heart was risky, but I am glad I did. It would have been hard to read with the students about sad things knowing that they did not know I was still sad deep in my heart.

If you have sadness in your life, please open your heart to someone. It is freeing just to say, “I am still sad.”

I am.

. . . weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

(Thank you, Susan, for sharing this verse with me today.)

Trying to live in joy even as the tears fall this morning,