A few years ago each Heart ‘n Home office was issued the challenge of writing a children’s book on grief. In Fruitland, we struggled for a little bit to narrowed down an idea of what we wanted to do. Thoughts came and passed quickly through my mind and then it came to me one day, on my way home from work. The whole story came at once. The words and the pictures, at least most of the pictures, came to my mind. I pulled over and wrote it all down. After sharing my idea with the team, ideas really started to flow and creativity expanded. Our team pulled together in a most remarkable way and a book was created. After many hours of work, the book “SPOTS” was handed into our leaders.
On this same day, a coworker and I had the honor of visiting some kids who had just lost their father. These kids (ages 16, 9, and 8) loved their father and had a great connection with him. Cueing into this connection, we read our book “SPOTS”, which is a book about finding and continuing a bond with those we love, even after they are gone. This idea is one of my favorite parts of the grief process. In the fifteen years that I have worked closely with those in grief (adults and children) I have noticed that when someone is able to “locate” their loved one within themselves, or “find an enduring connection” to them, healing seems to come more quickly. This makes sense because oftentimes we find ourselves lost in the world without that person and when we can find them, we feel an increased sense of purpose and direction. But, this task of “finding our loved one” is not easy…..and it takes time.
As we read this book to these children, it was amazing to see how something that was formed, created, and developed by my team was so powerful in bereavement work. These kids definitely enjoyed the story and were able to connect with the idea that we all have “spots in our hearts” when someone we love leaves us. As we read, I recognized that even though we had a wide age range, this book helpful for each of them. At the end of our book, there is an interactive section where children can draw their own “spots” in a heart and write something about those spots. These kids were ready and excited for this activity. They drew their “spots” associated with their father, their feelings, their memories, etc. At that moment, I was so proud and I thought, “We have created something valuable! It produced super results for the group of kids from years ago and continues to be a valuable tool in helping children today.
What started out as a team-building challenge turned into something special. Even though I’m competitive and hoped that our team’s book would be the best book submitted, I realize that we won just by creating this useful tool.
At Heart ‘n Home we realize the impacts that grief can have on a person when they don’t have the tools to cope with the grief. If you are interested in one of the books created by our team, you can contact us for a copy. We also have other materials on grief at our online resource site. Visit our site by clicking here.