HONOLULU — For Nikki Gregory, the hard truth was that staying with the father of her three daughters was not going to make their relationship any better.
The 34-year-old single mother admitted that it took her a long time, but she finally did realize that prison was his life.
She just needed help getting across to her girls – Champagne, age 10, Chardonnay, age 13, and Alize, age 15 – that it was not their fault their father has been in and out of prison his whole life.
“I wanted them to know that there are other kids like them,” Gregory said. “They’re not alone. That it was unfortunate we’re in the situation that we are in, but it’s not their fault. And it’s OK that their parents are not together. Kids Hurt Too Hawaii helped them become more open about their situation. They are not ashamed to say that their father is in prison.”
Gregory’s three daughters are among the more than 250 grief-stricken children, between ages 3 and 19, that every year in Hawaii turn to Kids Hurt Too Hawaii for a safe space to express feelings about their loss of a parent to such factors as incarceration, death or divorce.
But the 35-year-old patient-care representative for a local hospital insists that staying in an abusive relationship for the sake of her two children — Audriana,13, and Andre, 11 — was not an option.
“I needed as much help as possible for all of us to understand that the divorce was permanent,” Puente said, referring to the role Kids Hurt Too Hawaii played in bringing solace to her children.
“Kids Hurt Too Hawaii helped them to see that they weren’t by themselves,” Puente said. “They saw other kids going through the same situation. It made them more aware of their feelings and helped them better express their feelings.”
Puente’s two children are among the more than 250 grieving children, between ages 3 and 19, who every year turn to Kids Hurt Too Hawaii for a safe space to express feelings about their loss of a parent to such factors as divorce, death and incarceration.