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Michele, Lindsey & Taylor: "Thank God it's here when a family is in need."

Michele's husband, Lindsey and Taylor's father, died when Lindsey was 11 and Taylor was 8. Over the next year they attended the Caring Place.

Michele: When someone close to you dies, you are immediately filled with emotions — shock and sadness, anger and loneliness. Your whole life is turned upside down. You lose your identity as someone's wife, husband, mother, father, sibling or child.

As the dust settled a little in the weeks that followed, Taylor was full of questions and memories about her daddy. Lindsey, on the other hand, cried the night I told her that her dad had died. She cried at the funeral and then came nothing — no questions, no memories.

It was then that I decided to call the Caring Place. I was apprehensive about attending both for myself and the girls.

Lindsey: My Dad died and I was feeling upset and sad and I really didn't want to talk about him much. My Mom told me we were going to the Caring Place. I was nervous about going to a new place. When we went to orientation the people and volunteers were so nice. I met a girl named Sam and we ended up going to the same session on the same night and we were in the Middle Room together.

Taylor: I was really sad when my Dad died. When my Mom told me that I would be going to the Caring Place, I didn't know that it was going to be this nice. At the orientation, I met two really nice girls. I wanted to go back soon because it was such a fun place.

Michele: It was difficult to share our story with what felt like strangers, but it turned quickly into sharing a good meal and great conversation with friends. The Caring Place is a safe haven for many families. You don't feel different here and you don't feel alone here. You find that the feelings you have that you thought were crazy are shared by many.

The backbone of the Caring Place is its wonderful volunteers. They greet you at the door and scoop you up with their compassion. They are always there for you whether they are watching a young child so the mom can eat without interruption for probably the first time in two weeks, or to sew a precious memory on a quilt square or just to say, "Hello, how was your day?" These volunteers are truly amazing and hold a special place in the hearts of all the Caring Place families.

Lindsey: I liked when we first got into the room, the tables were covered with paper and we were allowed to draw with the markers. I was always excited to see what our next activities would be. I liked to see all my friends I had made. The volunteers listened to whatever anyone had to say.

The memory box was special to make because you could show on the box what the person that died was interested in. We shared what we made on the box to each other. We also had projects like making a music CD of songs we chose.

Taylor: I liked the memory box that we made too. We got to decorate it the way we thought the person that died would like. I put pictures, my Dad's hat and a Father's Day T-shirt my sister and I made for him in the box. The quilt square was fun to make because we picked things my Dad liked to do on it.

Lindsey: I feel better now about talking about my Dad since going to the Caring Place.

Taylor: It was fun at the Caring Place and I love it.

Michele: It's never easy to hear of a young person's death. I wouldn't wish the Caring Place on anyone, but I thank God that it is here when a family is in need.