As Executive Director of Alliance of Hope, I often receive books. Survivors send them to our office in the hope that what they have written will make a difference for someone else. Last month, a children’s book landed on my desk that stood out for its grace and simplicity and especially, for the hope it offers.
When author Rebecca Mason’s husband Todd ended his life 14 years ago, she faced the excruciating task of telling their sons ages 2, 5, and 8, that their beloved father had died. In the ensuing weeks and months, Rebecca did what she could to comfort them – and when she could not find a book that fit their needs, she wrote one. Later, not finding an illustrator who felt comfortable capturing the importance of the book’s emotion, she illustrated it herself.
I want to share this newly published book with you because it is a lovely book for children … but really, beyond that, I invite you to join me in bearing witness to Rebecca’s journey. Her resilience and her accomplishment parallel the journey and accomplishments of so many survivors. In the beginning, it is hard to believe that one will ever make it through, but those who have gone beyond just surviving, like Rebecca, provide examples and hope that it can be done.
I leave you with Rebecca’s words, found at the end of her book:
“I wrote this book shortly after my husband passed away in 2007. His death was sudden and tragic, and it shattered my family’s safe world in an instant.
I searched for children’s books that would speak to how my boys were feeling. I wanted to find something that would directly relate to them and help them process the feelings of this unique kind of grief. But my searches left more to be desired.
As I lay awake one sleepless night, I looked at my three small children snuggled in close to me sleeping soundly in my bed. I was determined to do my best for them and give them the support they needed in order to help them process this in the healthiest way possible. It was out of this deep desire that I began to write this story. I wanted them to know they were not alone in having their Daddy die. Because it felt like they were. When I read the finished story to them, they were surprised that another little boy out there know exactly how they felt. And they said it made them feel better … so, we read it often.
It is my deepest desire that this story will also comfort your child or children in some way. I hope they can see themselves in it as my own children did. I hope that you and your children can find strength in the fact that you are unified with many in this experience; you are not alone, and you will get through this horrible time. And I hope that you will ultimately be triumphant in your grief journey and find the will and grace to move forward with love.” ~Rebecca Mason