HONOLULU (KHON) – Ashley Bugge and her family were living in Hawaii when the unthinkable happened. 

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“My husband passed away,” she said.

An active-duty member of the U.S. Navy, Brian James Bugge died in May 2018 after a tragic recreational scuba-diving accident near Kewalo Basin. 

“My kids were 2-and-3-years-old at the time. I was six months pregnant with my youngest,” Bugge explained. “I was not equipped or prepared at all. To go through that process of losing my husband while pregnant, and having young kids, then dealing with my own grief as well as theirs. There was nothing out there to help guide them through it.” 

Born from Bugge’s own personal grief, “A Hui Hou: Until We Meet Again” is a children’s book aimed at helping young children understand the concept of death. The book is narrated through the voices of Bugge’s three children. 

Bugge hopes it helps kids understand, accept, and process death and grief. 

“Every parent parents differently. But our kids, they know what’s happening. They’re hearing the words, hearing the people around them talking,” she said.

“We want to protect them from all these big scary things, but the reality is, that they’re going through it. And if we don’t facilitate these conversations and open up and explain to them these concepts and what’s actually happening, they’re just going to be building these scenarios in their head that are so much scarier and upsetting than the reality of what we can explain to them,” said Bugge. 

Bugge said her three children helped write the book. 

“It’s really just a tool to let your kids see that other kids are going through this and that. You can be in control of the conversations and to recognize that they’re hearing it, and they’re thinking these thoughts, so to really take the opportunity and have that conversation with them so that you lead it. Everybody’s experiencing it all around us, and we have to have those conversations.” 

A Hui Hou: Until We Meet Again was published in 2020 by Brown Books Publishing Group. 

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