COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Without knowing their story, you would think Kaylyn and Madison Malinowski were like any other 10 and 13-year-olds.
But, on any given day, especially at night, they say the opposite is true.
“We’ll end up like having meltdowns,” says Madison. “I burst out in tears.”
Kaylyn and Madison don’t have physical injuries. Their scars are on the inside.
“I really miss her, and then like, I wish she’d still be here,” says Madison. “So I could talk to her about boyfriends and crushes.”
“I think it’s just hard when like somebody reminds you that she’s not there when you wake up. And you notice she’s not downstairs,” says Kaylyn.
Their mother, Judy Malinowski, died in June after being burned alive and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend in August of 2015. For nearly two years, their grandmother, Bonnie Bowes, brought the girls to visit their mom in the hospital.
“They’re past traumatized. Our journey has just begun,” says Bowes.
Judy’s journey was to pass a law. Her daughters’ and Bonnie’s journey is to start the Judy Foundation with a mission to help kids cope with the trauma of witnessing or experiencing abuse.
“For the children the next generation to break the cycle. [To say] that’s not acceptable,” says Bowes.
They hope to take that message into schools and to educate young people and teach them love doesn’t hurt. The foundation will be proactive, with resources to help women escape with their children and make that transition less painful for the entire family.
“There’s even a need when someone’s trying to get out of an abusive relationship safe places things for the kids, counseling for the kids, it’s not there,” says Bowes.
Kaylie and Maddie say what’s helped them cope is always having someone to talk to. They want other kids to not feel so alone.
“I’d say eventually we’ll get through this and it’s something that we that you can actually follow, like her legacy,” says Madison. “When people look at you they’ll be like, ‘Hey, that girl must be really tough like their mom.'”
Tough, like Judy.