Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Books on death and dying

The week before Thanksgiving we euthanized our dear Cherokee dog. She was more than 16 yo, lame, and very sick, but it was still a terribly difficult decision and a hard day.

Yesterday, my two youngest came with me as I took my 90 yo FIL to the doctor and then the hospital. Thankfully he's going home today and will be as well as a feisty 90 can be (pretty dang good, but rather stubborn!). We were reminded that every moment with him is time we should be grateful for.

We've mourned the death of relatives, friends, and pets. Each death is a loss, each death reminds us how precious and brief our own time together in this place is. We need to talk to our kids about death, the same way we teach them about life.

I think our culture avoids and fears death in a way that is very unhealthy. The thing is - we're all going to die. You, me, our children, everything we know and love will someday not exist. We don't do ourselves any favors by pretending it's not going to happen. Far better to accept it and talk about it with our kids. Share your values and beliefs. Talk about people and pets who have died. What do you remember about that person/pet? Remember the negative and goofy things as well as the good things. Read books about death. Show your child through your actions that the dead are with us in spirit, that love doesn't die.

All this made me realize that maybe other people would like to know some books we have found useful.

So here are a few I found on my shelves. As always, pre-read any books for appropriateness before sharing with your child.

What's Heaven?
The Fall of Freddy the Leaf
The Saddest Time
Gentle Willow

Sad Isn't Bad
I Wish I Could Hold Your Hand
A Bunch of Balloons
35 Ways to Help a Grieving Child

The tenth good thing about Barney
Forever Buster
I'll Always Love you

Loss of baby, sibling, pregnancy:
Molly's Rosebush
No New Baby
Thumpy's Story

Dukkha is the Buddhist concept that suffering is caused by not accepting the world as it. We will rarely welcome death, but perhaps we can come to accept it.

1 comment:

Sue VanHattum said...

Our favorite was A Story for Hippo. We also like Annie and the Old One, Fox Song, To Hell With Dying, and Z's Gift.