When a good friend of mine went through the worst thing you could imagine happening to a parent, I wanted to help. But what can be done or said in times like that? When speaking with my friend, what I learned was that some of the most difficult moments in that time came from the words/actions from others. Death makes us uncomfortable, difficult situations make us awkward. Often we try our best fill that space with words, but they can be unhelpful and in some cases not appropriate.
It’s hard to know what to say or what to do when you can’t make a situation better…so I did what I knew I could and wrote a book. The book was for their 3 year old son who was struggling with all that was. The book was my love song to him and his parents…to let them know of all the things I would do if I could.
The little boy is shown what would be done for him by various animals. A rabbit would hop alongside him, helping him feel the freedom of jumping through the grass; an elephant would wrap his trunk around him, letting him feel the safety of his caress. With each page, the boy is shown of all the wonderful things that would be done to show him love. At the end of the book, you meet the person speaking…as she ponders what would she do or say to help him feel better. She realizes, like I realized with this family, that sometimes all we can do is let them know we are thinking of them, that we love them and that we wish we could make it lighter. Even if that can’t be done…we can share our love.
Conversations like this are not easy. It’s hard, very hard. But my hope is, is that this book opens up the discussion for how we support others when they are hurting. Making the call, even if there are tears on the other end, is helpful. Bringing over food/treats/gifts, even if you don’t know they will be useful is helpful. But mostly just showing up, even if it’s awkward is often the greatest gift of all.
My hope is this book touches others they way it was intended and hopefully will help to continue the dialog of supporting others through grief or difficult situations.
If interested in purchasing this book, please visit the Children’s Book page for more information.