What are some of the back to school things that you feel are important? What are those you do every fall? I try and talk about loss of a loved one. . . you might find that odd. . . but that is life. I have found over the years that it is better to talk about it when your heart isn’t hurting, when the tears aren’t falling, when you still see the sunshine of life and not the storms.
We talk about our families and our pets . . . then comes the stories about a pet that had died or a family member. We can all relate to that grief. My go to mentor texts are: I’ll Always Love You, The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, and Peach and Blue. I’ll Always Love you is about a little boy and his dog. . . his older dog that dies. He told his dog every day that he will always love him. . . shouldn’t we all do that with the people that we love? Show and tell our loved ones how much they mean to us. . . don’t waste time. We aren’t promised a tomorrow.
The Tenth Good Think About Barney is about a cat that died . . . the little boy is trying to list ten good things about Barney, but he can only think of nine. He and his sister banter back and forth about the fact that Barney is in heaven . . . or just in the ground. They have a funeral. . . they plant flowers. . . they realize that Barney will go back to the soil to help the flowers grow. . . that is a pretty good job for a cat and #10 on the list.
Peach and Blue is my all time favorite picture book. Peach is, of course, a peach growing on the tree. Blue is a blue bellied toad that lives by the pond. Peach is crying because she has never seen the beauty of the pond. She was red and ripe and would soon be eaten by some stranger. Blue and his brothers and sisters think of a way to get her down from the tree and take her around the pond. The illustrations are delightful . . . the last one melts my heart . . . Nothing lasts forever, but for now–I have you and you have me.
Think about that. . . grief as a back to school topic the first few weeks of school. . . I will guarantee that someone in the class will lose a pet or a loved one. Give them the tools to help deal with the grief.