Last week was hard. Really hard.

On Monday, my husband and I received a text from our daughter letting us know the brother of one of her closest friends had passed away. He was just 12 years young.

Shocked. Devastated. Broken-hearted. We reached out to her and told her we loved her. We were sorry. And there for her.

How can this be?

Do you want to come home? What do you need? Do you want us to come there? These are some of the things we asked.

She had never been to a real funeral before, or faced the death of a peer, or walked beside a friend enduring such pain and heartache.

The weight of it all was so very heavy.

Our hearts were, and are, broken for this family.

How do you pick up the pieces? Mend the hearts? What do you do with all the pain?

We went to the middle school to have lunch with our daughters, to hug them, and tell them how much we love them, and how very sorry we were. Other parents were there. We sat with the kids and listened as they opened up and shared. Tears. Stories. Questions.

We have never had to navigate something like this as parents. We want so badly to protect our children from the pain of this world, but sadly, that pain is a part of life.

I think it’s what we do with it that matters.

In these moments of pain and suffering so deep and raw, we need to show up. To be there. To listen. And pray. To not stuff it, but to deal with the emotions as they arise.

Seeing my daughter and her friends come alongside their friend last week reminded me of the importance of showing up. These girls were present. They weren’t afraid to enter into the suffering. They lifted one another up, and offered each other comfort. With hugs. And words. And prayer. Their love was evident in both word and deed.

My heart was, and is, so very heavy for the family who lost their son. And for all of those who mourn the loss of his young, precious life – gone too soon.

Losing a loved one is always hard, but when that loved one is a child – the pain and gravity of the loss seem to be magnified.

Please lift those who are hurting up in prayer. The road ahead will be long. Pray the community will know how to be the hands and feet of Christ during a time of such devastation and grief. Pray for parents who are navigating difficult emotions, topics and conversations with their children.

But most of all, please pray for this sweet family who has suffered a tremendous loss. My heart breaks for them. As do the hearts of many.

May the Lord comfort them in their time of sorrow. And may they find peace in His loving arms.

Rest in Peace, Alex Alvarez.

You will be forever missed.

Resources for those dealing with loss and grief:

How Not to Say the Wrong Thing – Los Angeles Times

The Dog Isn’t Sleeping: How to Talk to Children About Death – NPR

Speaking to Your Teen About Suicide – Psychology Today

Bible Verses for Overcoming Grief – BibleStudyTools

Coping with Grief and Loss – HelpGuide

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