Sadly, a young 17-year-old girl in our community (who happens to be our good friend’s niece) passed away last week and it’s been tragic. Her parents were aware of her struggles the last several months and did everything they knew to help her. She was loved. She had friends. She was active in school activities and sports and it has been beautiful to see an outpouring of support on her behalf.

This prompted multiple conversations with Hallie as she asked questions trying to understand it – but it’s a heavy topic even for adults to grasp. It’s hard to explain when I don’t even understand it. And as I looked into Hallie’s innocent eyes asking me these questions I had a small prick of fear – do I really see her? Would I know if she was struggling? And what in the world would I do with out her? There is a mother tonight that is asking herself that same question – how is her life going to go on without her sweet girl.

And as I sat for hours this week with my friend looking at photo after photo and piecing a video together for her service, I was reminded that life is so beautiful and at the same time so fragile. We are strong until we’re not. We work so hard to build an environment where our kids feel safe and loved. We give them experiences we never had. And I’m sure I’m not alone in saying this, but we would give our life for them. And as I often remind my kids, we’re doing the very best we can.

And yet, things outside our control often knock down the tower we’ve been so carefully building. And the thought of having to rebuild seems daunting.

It requires us to put one foot in front of the other every single day.

We are going to celebrate a beautiful girl this weekend who has touched so many. We’re also going to put our arms around this family and carry them until they’re able to put one foot in front of the other on their own.

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