Losing a grandparent is often a child's first experience with grief. The ordeal can be as bewildering as it is painful. Explaining what happens from a child's-eye view, the little elves in this book depict the difficult days before, after, and beyond a grandparent's death. They explore the meaning of death and heaven, as well as how to stay close in spirit with a grandparent who has died. With ideas for action and questions for discussion, this creative guide will help you help your grieving child to create comforting memories and find closure.
About the Author
R. W. Alley is the illustrator for the popular Abbey Press adult series of Elf-help books, as well as an illustrator and writer of children's books. He lives in Barrington, Rhode Island, with his wife, daughter, and son. See a wide variety of his works at: www.rwalley.com.
Read an Excerpt
When Your Grandparent Dies
A Child's Guide to Good Grief
By Victoria Ryan, R. W. Alley
Abbey PressCopyright © 2002 Victoria Ryan
All rights reserved.
Everybody Is Sad
When your grandparent is very sick, your whole life can seem mixed up. Your mom may cry a lot, and your dad may be very quiet. Your brother or sister may look worried. Your aunt and uncle call every day. Nobody smiles much. Nobody laughs.
Your mom or dad may say, "Your grandparent's time is near." That means your grandparent is going to die very soon.
It is a sad, sad time.
If your mom and dad take you to see your grandparent, you hope he or she will be the same as always. But your grandparent might look different and may not be able to talk.
There might be tubes to carry medicine into your grandparent's body and special machines around the bed.
It's good to hug your grandparent and say, "I love you." Your grandparent will feel your hug and hear your special words.
It's Okay to Cry
When a grandparent dies, you miss him or her very much. Your grandparent gave you a special kind of love. He or she always had time for you, listened to you, and was proud of you. Your grandparent laughed and had fun with you.
You might feel tears in your eyes, but you don't want to be a baby. It's okay to cry. It doesn't matter if you're a boy or a girl or how old you are. It's okay not to cry too.
Not everybody acts sad in the same way. Your little cousins might run around the house and make a lot of noise. Your younger sister may cry one minute, then play a game the next. Your older brother may just tell you to leave him alone.
What Dying Means
When your parents say that your grandparent "died," it means your grandparent's body stopped working and cannot be fixed.
Death happens to all living things—flowers and frogs, goldfish and gerbils, dogs and cats, and people.
But a person is more than just a body. A person also has a "spirit." This is the part of you that laughs and loves and makes friends with people. It's what makes you YOU.
Though your grandparent's body has died, his or her spirit is still alive, in heaven with God.
Heaven is a beautiful place where God takes care of people when they die. There is no pain or sickness in heaven. Your grandparent will always be happy there.
Talk with your mom and dad about what heaven might be like. Do you think your grandmother might be baking cookies there? Do you think your grandfather could be fishing?
People in heaven cannot visit earth, and you cannot visit heaven. But you can feel your grandparent's spirit whenever you think of his or her special love for you. Your love for each other goes on forever.
You might have strange, new feelings you've never had before. These new feelings may surprise you and confuse you.
You might wonder why other kids are so happy when you are so sad. You might feel so angry that you want to go outside and break big sticks in the backyard. You might want to run and run until the strange feelings go away.
When your friends call, you don't feel like talking. Even if your dog tugs on your pants leg, you don't want to play catch. Your aunt might offer to buy you a superduper banana split, but you aren't hungry. You are tired, but can't fall asleep. You wonder if you'll ever feel good again.
Excerpted from When Your Grandparent Dies by Victoria Ryan, R. W. Alley. Copyright © 2002 Victoria Ryan. Excerpted by permission of Abbey Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.