Nov. 17 is National Childrens'
In honoring the idea of this day, I am sharing with you the inspiration behind my book - For the Love of Emrys. I've written this book to inspire grieving children to discover the Love within them to be a powerful anchor to guide them for the rest of their life.
As the birth of a loved one changes our lives forever, so does the death of a loved one. When a child experiences this kind of grief, there is an immediate, permanent change for the rest of their life. But can this experience teach a child something very valuable forever?
A child who is grieving has the opportunity to strengthen their spirit in ways that build foundational character traits that will be assets for the rest of their life.
When my little schnauzer Emrys died, I felt I would never be able to replace him. And I was right:
We can't replace relationships like we replace things !
Relationships are as unique as we are: each one is special and purposeful for many different reasons. Yet, as with all things, there are SEASONS to our relationships - the birthing, living and dying. Such is life here on this beautiful planet Earth.
Profoundly, what I discovered was that the CAUSE of my joyful experiences with beloved Emrys came from me - not from him. Yes, we were in relationship, and he loved me dearly. But the source of the love I felt for him came from inside me. I found great strength in this truth. And it's a profound idea I am now sharing with children.
Emerys and Me in 1993
I believe many times we think our happiness is dependent on specific people, places, situations, etc...This idea opens the door to great suffering because we feel very lost when the object of our affection is no longer in our lives. When I believed Emrys to be the cause of my happiness, I suffered greatly. When I realized Emrys was a natural part of my life experience of expressing love, I knew I could still express this love, even without him. That's powerful!
In supporting children to become aware of this, I do a very simple exercise using the story For The Love Of Emrys, where a little girl named Christina shares experiences with her beloved pet dog:
> I ask them to draw a heart on a piece of paper, and write the word love on it. I tell them that the heart represents what Christina feels at the beginning of the story when she first gets Emrys.
> Then I go through the part of the story where Emrys dies. We talk about each new emotion that Christina feels, for example, fear, worry, sadness, upset, etc. I ask them to write the name of the emotion on another piece of paper which is smaller than the heart, and cover up part of the heart. This is a visual idea to show them that underneath all the uncomfortable feelings that accompany grief - UNDERNEATH IS OUR LOVE.
Children cover up the heart with feelings of fear, doubt, deep sadness, loneliness, confusion and shock.
> As the story goes on, the children realize Christina is transformed as Mystie the Magical dragonfly shares her wisdom and compassion. So by the end of the story, most of the grieving emotions are taken off the heart, uncovering the love that was always there.
So as we celebrate National Children's Grief Awareness day, let's really celebrate the truth of each grieving child to know that their inherent, changeless nature is Love !
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