My girls have lost so much in their lives: birth parents, foster families, and their homeland. Perhaps that's why Doodle takes loss so hard. Her grief over my Aunt Ruth's death this winter was far greater than I would have expected, and she continues to struggle with sadness over this loss. This was the first death that Doodle has had to experience. We had our family reunion on Sunday, an event where Aunt Ruth typically reigned supreme as the eldest person there. Doodle cried about Aunt Ruth and didn't sleep well both on the night before and the night of the reunion. I simply held her, listened, and told her that it's good to hold her aunt in her memories and to think about the good times, which might even bring a smile to her face rather than tears. Tootle was a bit subdued after the reunion too, and the girls told me that they talked with each other about how much they missed Aunt Ruth. I'm grateful that they are able to talk about their feelings rather than keeping them bottled up inside, but I also wish that this was easier.
P.S. Despite the void left by Aunt Ruth's absence, the reunion was fun. We picnicked with more than 70 of our relatives, and the girls had a blast with their cousins.