#1a: Why these books?
Day 49: 1a. Why these Children’s Grief Books? The reason I offer up these books is that they cover the 4 important elements in navigating death/dying conversations with young children: 1) The Process of Death (the How) 2) Grief Emotions (normalizing this confusing landscape) 3) Continuing Bond (finding an enduring connection despite physical absence) 4) Supporting the Grown-Up (how to show up for our own stuff around death as we parent). Process of Death: Parents tend to do a great job supporting a continuing bond, or connection, to the person who died. Yet, I find many struggling with “explaining” death, or the “how,” of what happened. When the “how” of death/dying gets glossed over, it leaves a gap for a child, who craves factual, concrete, and simple language about the why’s of the universe. I call this topic “the process of death.” I encourage parents to consider what death means. To a kiddo, death means the person’s body no longer works, the heart no longer beats, the lungs do not work, the person can no longer speak, and the person will never be able to walk again. Grief Emotions: The Rabbit Listened is a fabulous way to name the many confusing and often contradicting feelings of grief. This books validates that having someone who can be present and listen is the best intervention, no matter our age. Continuing Bonds: The Invisible String offers a concrete way to explain the eternal connection of love. I find it works well, even for very young children (2/3). Finding a way to continue a connection to someone who dies DOES NOT mean having to offer something you don’t believe in. Your kids will pick up on that. I believe that kids can hold the mystery of things—what happens after we die, how Santa flies all over the world, how the Tooth Fairy gets coins under the pillow—much better than us adults (even if they ask a zillion whys). It’s ok to say “I don’t really know—it’s a mystery to me too.” Supporting the Grown-Up: The Heart & The Bottle is a bit of a cautionary tale, encouraging us to let our grief emotions flow as much as we can. I think it’s a great reminder for us grown ups. #grief #bereavement #grieftherapy