Grief strikes a widow & her children during the holidays

When December rolls around, the Pagan family is constantly faced with the void of the husband and father they once had. Joshua died from a chronic heart condition unexpectedly, leaving behind four adoptive children and his wife Deimy. "He filled every corner of the house with memories, so we had to leave," said the widow, "not to mention the financial turmoil." She and her four children are living in a spare bedroom at a relatives house as she seeks a stable and affordable place.

She shared a little bit about each one of her kids with me:

“Our Future Nurse”

Kiara (10)

Spunky, rambunctious, and focused, Kiara has decided she wants to become a nurse so she can save people like her dad. He passed from a chronic heart condition. On the eve of his death, Kiara was at his bedside and insisted that his caretakers and family leave the room. Her mom recounts her demands. Today, the young girl insists, that her words that night “broke his heart, and it’s all my fault.”

“In His Father's’ Memory”

Joshua, Jr (12)

Joshua assumed the role as the head of the family after losing his father. His three sisters call him Junior. Although he stays composed for his siblings, his mother says she still catches the twelve-year-old boy embracing his father’s recliner at night. He’s a talented artist and loves playing soccer.

“No More Birthdays”

Alexa (15)

Three birthdays have come and gone since Alexa said her final goodbyes to her dad. He took his last breath the day she turned 12, after Christmas Day. When Alexa’s mom asked what kind of birthday cake she wanted for her Quinceañera, she responded “I have homework” and walked out the door. In her spare time, Alexa can be found piecing puzzles together.

“Surviving the Burden”

Hailey (16)

Hailey is the oldest of four, and like her siblings, a survivor of sexual assault. Unlike her brother and sisters, she vividly recalls the traumatic events she endured before her adoption. Since age five, Hailey found solace in her adoptive father. During his eulogy, she referred to him as “my best friend.” She strives to maintain straight A’s, in hopes to be admitted to the Airforce.

Deimy is happy that her all of her kids have found a healthy outlet despite their challenges. She says they are all very disciplined, creative and kind-hearted. Deimy would like to give her children a Christmas dinner, some books and clothes for the upcoming semester.

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