Question from Mary: I have a friend who lost her daughter at age 10. She now has a step-daughter that age, and my friend is giving her step-daughter her deceased daughter’s toys and other belongings. Is this normal?

David Hurley, a contributing writer for Open to Hope, responds: It seems to me that giving her stepdaughter belongings from her deceased daughter is a sign of acceptance for the stepdaughter. Perhaps this mother, like me, has decided that there are no “steps” in her heart. I don’t think there is a “normal” when it comes to activities following the death of a child. Each person is following a path toward healing, and the path may have many twists and turns that are not understood by observers.

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