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  • Every day now, since July 20th, my family members say "I love you." It is sprinkled in all of our text messages and Facebook posts. It is always our parting sentence. It is always spoken with raw importance and sincerity.

    We didn't used to see each other or interact so often. But the theater shooting in Aurora claimed one of our own and injured another. We have spent the past month together. In the hospital waiting room, on the phone, at fundraisers and vigils, and online during sleepless nights.

    We have dealt with reporters and security and "disenfranchised" acquaintances and privacy. We've learned a lot of the legal nuances with taking donations and running a silent auction. We've cried together and laughed and got angry. We've dropped everything. We've worked our asses off.

    We can't sleep or eat, but we can hug. We are the best huggers and we will take any hug you can dish out. We've been overwhelmed with gratitude for the support and love and prayers and healing energy perfect strangers are sending to our cousin who is still recovering.

    We have been focused on that recovery, more than anything...and yet we know that soon we will have to focus on letting go of a child.

    And still, every day there seem to be new challenges. There are new rules to learn, new e-mails to respond to, new volunteers needed, new questions asked, new feelings to overcome. How do we know when we are helping or when we are crowding our cousin? How do we know when she needs space or when she needs to talk about it or when she needs to not talk about it?

    And there are the challenges each of us holds within ourselves. How can we take care of ourselves and process our own feelings? What can we do to hold peace in our hearts again?

    We are just a family. We are not a business. We are not experts. We are just a family. We are jumping through hoops and hoping we land on our feet.
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