Thursday, March 27, 2008

Funeral Time

Well, they buried Papa yesterday. My children attended the funeral and the reception afterwards (I, unfortunately, missed the funeral since I was terribly ill with food poisoning and had been up the entire night before being sick). The night before the funeral I read the children The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst. This book is all about how you put the person (or, in this case, a cat) under the ground and say some words about them. And it goes into the eternal question, where are they now? In heaven or under the earth? And the father says we don't know for sure. So if you are teaching your kids about Heaven you might want to preview the book to make sure it matches the message you are sending. In our case, I told Natalie that we don't know for sure but it makes people feel better to think that the people they loved and lost are still watching over them. And the book goes on to say that when the bodies are under the ground they change and become part of the earth and then they help plants grow. Which is the 10th good thing about Barney. It's very concrete and good for right before a funeral, whereas Badger's Parting Gifts is more abstract about what happens when you die -- Badger has a dream that he leaves his body behind and runs joyfully down the long tunnel -- and talks more about the feelings of grief and then later on remembering happy memories of the person.

Natalie's teacher also recommended Lifetimes (subtitled, "The beautiful way to explain death to children"). It focuses on the message that everything in nature is part of a cycle. By the way, if you're looking for a book about reincarnation, The Mountains of Tibet is a beautiful one.

I hope these recommendations are helpful to someone!

I have added quite a lot to my brainstorming about summer camps; I'm really looking forward to them. I'm also going to be giving some presentations at our local library about the wonderful age of 2 -- instead of the social stigma of the "terrible twos" -- so I'll post some thoughts about that and recommended books as I draft it.

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