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Kamas mother and children write book to heal after loss

Kouri D. Richins
Kamas resident Kouri Richins and her three sons wrote a book following the unexpected death of their husband and father in 2022.

Last year, a Kamas woman unexpectedly lost her husband, and their three children lost their dad. Now the family has published a book they said helped them deal with their rollercoaster of grief and they’re hopeful it can help others who may be in similar situations.

A mother from Kamas, Utah, Kouri Richins, said she never expected she would be raising her three boys on her own. When her husband Eric died in March 2022, she said she looked around for ways to help them cope with their grief. She wasn't able to find much and that's why she said she wrote a book.

Kouri Richins, a Kamas mother of three, is pictured in the KPCW studios in April 2023, after an interview about a children's book she wrote about grief. Less than a month later, she was arrested for her husband's death.
Kouri Richins, a Kamas mother of three, has written a children's book about grief to help cope with her husband's unexpected death.

“It's been a long, long year and difficult year,” she said. “Writing this book has brought a little peace to me, to me and my boys.”

She said she's hopeful their book, “Are You With Me?,” which was published a year after her husband Eric died, can help other families in a similar situation.

The book is based on questions that her children asked in the months after their dad died.

“'Is dad with us during birthday parties or Christmas?' Or you know, 'Is dad with us?' Because they're going through the sadness of knowing that it's just, you know, he's not here, presently,” Richins said. “Right? So, so we wrote this book and we're really hoping that it provides some comfort for not just obviously, our family, but other families that are going through the same thing.”

While she has no background in writing, she said she relied on her motherly instincts.

FULL INTERVIEW: Kamas mother Kouri Richins

“I'm not a previous author. I am not a child psychologist. I'm not a counselor, right? Like, I am a mom of three kids. And I can only write about what I know and what we're going through,” she said.

To the extent they could, the children helped with the book, especially the oldest who is 10, by expressing what they were feeling.

“He, you know, helped kind of navigate through the process like, what he was feeling, what his heart, you know, the sadness that he was feeling," she said. "But then as we kind of spoke about, you know, though dad is with you, he's not present, but his presence is here in the room. And so that was a sense of comfort to him, that he can just kind of walk through life with now. And if he can do it, like other kids can do it too.”

Richins said she believes writing the book helped all of them – if nothing else, it kept them busy and taught the children about compassion and empathy.

“I think it gave us a sense of distraction for one, and gave us something to put our minds towards,” she said. “So that was huge for us. Because you can go every day, and you know, you can either live in sadness or you can take that sadness and make something good out of it. So, it was a really good distraction from this last year and going through, you know, the first holidays without my husband, his birthday, like our anniversary, you know, all these things, and it gave us something to work towards.”

A second book, “Mom, How Far Away is Heaven?,” will be published by May. Richins said they are also working on different variations of the first book where the main character is a girl who has lost her mother and a child who has lost a sibling.

The first book is available online and is expected to be in local libraries and bookstores soon.

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