Bereavement Books and Support for Children
Welcome to my page about the two books that I wrote to support children experiencing bereavement.
The story of how my book came to be 'birthed' is very personal story. It started with my husband's diagnosis with stage 4 cancer in 2006. Our boys were just 7 and 9 years old at the time. Until his diagnosis he was so healthy that he was known as 'Mr. Organic'! Then, just like that, after feeling unwell for a short time, we discovered that actually he had been growing a ticking time bomb around his lungs.
The news was devastating, shocking, unfathomable. As we processed it together, the boys carried on their young lives as normal, unaware that anything serious was wrong.
I had the support of a wonderful bereavement charity and the school nurse but mostly I used my own skills to support myself and them. It was a very difficult and sad time. Explaining to the boys that their father was going to die was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, the hardest thing I will ever have to do. I was completely broken hearted about his impending death and couldn't imagine life without him. The prospect of becoming a lone parent and supporting the boys through this loss felt overwhelming. He died here at home, a year and a day after his diagnosis, leaving a gaping hole in our family.
After his death, I 'marched on' supporting the boys, adjusting and we found our way to become a family of three rather than four. During this time, I was supported by a wonderful charity called Balloons. I even trained as a Grief Support Worker and it helped me heal somehow.
Then in 2011 something unexpected happened. I had a dream that I had to write a book to support children in the same position. The next night the same dream but this time with all the words... 'Saying Goodbye to Hare' had landed!
Things fell into place quickly. A trustee of the charity was a publisher (Southgate Publishers), my friend Donna in the village a wonderful artist - it suddenly became a real project that I put my heart and soul into. The first print was done in 2012 and the second in 2013. The response was so positive and it was brought by parents, carers, schools, hospices. I was so proud of this tribute to Andy and my family.
...and then 'Saying Goodbye to Hare' needed a sequel. The grieving journey continues as we find ways to remember the person who has died. Children need these memories embedded for them as often their memories can be 'sketchy' if they are very young.
'Remembering Hare' arrived in a different way, it wasn't as easy as a dream!
But still the words flowed and it was published in 2013
So here we are today in 2021, 14 years after my husband died, 10 years since the words arrived in a dream. My boys have grown and have flown the nest; studying, working and in loving relationships, they are my pride and joy... we survived and we thrived! I have been in a loving relationship for the last 8 years to a man who accepts Andy as part of my life and that of the 'boys'. I feel very blessed to have found another 'great love'.
With regards my books, the original publisher retired and unfortunately no new publisher could be found, so they sat quietly for a while in storage. I have now decided to take on the mantle of the remaining books going out into the world and doing what they were birthed to do - support people through an event no-one wants to face but I know happens every day.
At some point in the near future I am hoping to publish the books on Kindle also, so they can travel even further out into the world.
More about the Books
Saying Goodbye to Hare
This is an uplifting story written for children aged 5-9 years about death and dying. Beautifully illustrated, this book is full of honesty and warmth. As young Rabbit witnesses the, life, illness and death of his dear friend hare, the story explores some of the feelings and questions children have at this time. The story is sensitively written to gave a positive, thoughtful message about death and dying.
Reading this book with my children who are 6 and 8 has really helped them and me make sense of the sadness and tradgy that we are presently experiencing. Not only is it sensitively written it is also beautifully illustrated.I found the guidance notes helped me find a way to talk to the children at their level of understanding. I'm so pleased I found this book and would recommend it to anyone in my situation.
This is such a lovely book if you want to be honest with children about death. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to prepare children for bereavement but I'm sure this book would help. It's so sensitively written but is very down to earth. The pictures are enchanting too. All credit to the author for helping parents and children alike.
This beautifully illustrated story, written for children aged 5-9 years, is about coming to terms with the death of someone special. Featuring the same much-loved characters from Saying Goodbye to Hare, Rabbit and buzzard reflect together on the ups and downs, feelings and experiences of the first year following the death of their dear friend hare, as they watch the 'Great Race'.
This is a book about treasuring memories, creating a legacy and celebrating the life of the person who has died. This book delivers a hopeful, supportive message for children and adults alike.
This follow on book to 'Saying Goodbye to Hare' is a reassuring resource for people helping children come to terms with the loss of loved ones. Donna Bell's empathetic drawings will resonate with the readers and facilitate discussion around the issues raised by the story. It's clear from the story that the author has close personal experience of helping children with grief, which is invaluable. It's so lovely to flick through as an adult and be transported to Rabbit's world by the illustrations. Thanks to Southgate publishers for this, I plan to send both books to a child who has recently lost his mother.
Buying the books