Children Also Grieve: Talking About Death and Healing ISBN: 9781843108085
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2005
Henry is a dog, a large, shaggy dog, and he and his family are grieving at the death of their grandfather. Henry tells the story, but we also learn that Ling (5), Suzi (15) and Yili (16), as well as the neighbours pets, Tashi and Sam, are grieving for Grandfather too. The fact that Henry and the other pets are animals removes the situation purely from the realm of people and gives some distance to the story. Henry explains about the different ways that the people and animals grieve: Ling is very sad; Suzi doesn't really show her grief; and Yili is angry about Grandfather's death. There is lots of description of feelings, of what death means and how it can come about, about feeling angry or trapped or frightened. Henry explains about talking about feelings of guilt and that some feelings can actually cause bodily pain. All through the story there are blanks left for the child to fill in answers to questions Henry asks, eg. Where do you think the person you knew is now? Are there any feelings you hide? etc. The story is quite detailed and full of possible emotions, both positive and negative. Different ways of coping with grief are covered fairly comprehensively, and we learn about rituals that can help. Henry comes to the conclusion that 'Grandfather will always be a part of me. He lives in my heart.' The second half of the book is to be used as a memory book for the child and has room for lots of facts, pictures and suggestions for helping the child to grieve. There is a glossary of unfamiliar words and an end section for adults to explain such things as common signs of grief and how to help the child accept and move on. The book is illustrated by very beautiful photography, which adds greatly to the whole. Available from Amazon or from the publisher at www.jkp.com.