The most touching picture I have ever seen was taken around 1887. A young mother is holding a beautiful six-or-seven-year-old girl in her arms. Both are dressed in their funeral finery. The little girl is dead, her long blonde ringlet curls falling over her mother’s arm. The mother is looking directly into the camera and you cannot bear to look away. This picture, more than anything I have seen, says grief is not an intellectual exercise. Grief breaks our hearts and hits us like ocean waves. It devastates us, diminishes us, changes us, and forces us to grow and become new people.
If you are reading this book, it’s not unlikely you picked it up randomly at a major bookstore. You have a need for it. Whether you are a teacher, researcher, parent, or loved family member or friend, you want to know more about how to help, support and guide children though grief. Reading about grief can be valuable. Hearing the children’s stories and how their families responded reaches us at the heart level.
Throughout these pages, I’d like to share what I’ve learned over 25 years of working with grieving children and families, writing books for them and, with my husband, Dr. Marv Johnson, presenting workshops for caregivers and families called Children Grieve, Too.
If you are reading this because someone you love is dying or has just died, then read Parts Two, Five, and Ten first. Then sit with me. Have a good cup of coffee or flavored herb tea and learn about children and grief through the stories they have told us, the experiences they have lived, and the rich lessons they can teach.
- from the introduction
Includes a glossary and recommended resources section