Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Book for Grieving Children

I knew loss as a very young girl when my father died of a heart attack when I was 16 years old. In 1981, an adolescent like myself could not make heads or tails of what the whole grief experience was all about. Drawing from my own personal experience and that of my child's, a little over a year ago, I set out to write a children's story with Pia as my subject. It was the story of how she coped in the first year after we lost Migi. Back in 1998, she was all of seven years old.

"Heaven's Butterfly" is a story about how to help children deal with the loss of a loved one through death. Pia and I pray that the book will be able to help many other children and their parents who have experienced the death of a loved one. In the book is a small section on how parents and teachers can help children grieve well.

It's not always easy to share your story with the world. It was very healing for the two of us to write this. When we saw the illustrations the first time, we really cried. In putting our grief into words, for Pia, especially, our lives have finally come full circle after ten years.

The illustrations were made by the very talented
Panch Alcaraz whose amazing gift made our story come alive. Panch was able to capture the essence of Migi and Pia in the photographs, and how we were as a family 10 years ago. An interesting side note is that while working together, I discovered that Panch's father, Pat, was my former boss at Philippine Airlines in the late 1980s. Again, it never ceases to amaze me how God brings people together for a purpose.

"Heaven's Butterfly" was written to honor the memory of our little boy blue who taught us the meaning of love and selflessness. It was also written for all the other children who walk the delicate journey from healing to hope. Published by Anvil, it is due for release very soon.