I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Archive for the ‘Loss of a Sibling’ Category

Sign-Up Today for the FREE Grief Healing Telesummit: March 10 -18, 2014

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on March 5, 2014

Grief Healing Telesummit:

Enjoy free access to 17 amazing speakers who share their best information to
help you transform grief into healing and living again!

  Free Registration at http://griefhealingtelesummit.com/lpederson
March 10 -18, 2014
Please share with those with a grieving heart!

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Look at this amazing line up of experts!
I Did Not Know What To Say – Wed. March 12 at 1pm EST
The Grief Toolbox Toolbox
What’s Your Grief
Peace & Wellness Centere
Embrace Your Inner Self
Simply Kerryy
Dorothy Fitzer
Global Association of Holistic Psychotherapy
With Sympathy Gifts & Keepsakes,
Tina Games, Michael Mapes, Margaret Paul, Maggie Chula, Uma Girish, Tabitha Jayne and
Transcending Loss: Understanding the lifelong impact of grief

Free Registration at http://griefhealingtelesummit.com/lpederson
March 10 -18, 2014
Please share with those with a grieving heart!

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Posted in Caregiver, Children Grief Support, Gratitude, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Grief Support Workshops, Holiday Grief Support, Hospice/Palliative Care, Inspiration, Loss due to Suicide, Loss of a Aunt/Uncle, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Father, Loss of a Friend, Loss of a Grandparent, Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Loss of a Pet, Loss of a Sibling, Loss of a Spouse, Memorial Day, Men & Grief, Stillborn, Suicide Survivors, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Valentine’s Grief Support Resources

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on February 9, 2014

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Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is more than verses on valentines and romance in the movies. We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true, the most important thing in our lives. For love is the creator of our favorite memories and the foundation of our fondest dreams. Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places. And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the greatest treasure of all – one known only by those who love
….Unknown



How to Support a Grieving Loved one on Valentine’s Day

Articles – Valentine’s Day & the Loss of a Loved One

Grief Healing – Remembering Our Loved Ones on Valentine’s Day by Marty Tousley

Getting Through Valentine’s Day Alone by Open to Hope

Dealing with Holiday Grief by Beliefnet.com

Grief Healing: Remembering Our Loved Ones on Valentine’s Day by June Cook

The Heartbreak of Valentines Day by Maureen Hunter

Self Healing Expressions Grief Course Instructor Suggests 7 Grief Rituals for Valentine’s Day


Loss of a Spouse Virtual Book Tour

Interview with Jennifer Hawkins – The Gift Giver

Interview with Pat Nowak – ABC’s of Widowhood

Interview with Ellen Gerst – Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

Interview with Michael Corrigan – A Year and a Day

Interview with Carole Brody Fleet – “Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow”

Interview with Lori A. Moore – Missing Andy

Interview with Marcy Kelly – From Sorrow to Dancing


ARTICLES – Loss of a Spouse

25 Things You Can Do For A Widow On Valentine’s Day Sheryl Kurland, The Relationship Insider

Operation: Heaven Writings & Tips for Those Who Know Someone Who Has Lost Their Hero in the Military
by Taryn Davis – Founder/President, The American Widow Project

Five Things You Can Do for a Grieving Widow
by Marcy Kelly, Author of From Sorrow to Dancing

HAVE A “SINGLE-Y SENSATIONAL” VALENTINE’S DAY
by Carole Brody Fleet, Author of Widows Wear Stilettos

How to Date/Marry A Widow or Widower
by Ellen Gerst, Relationship Coach & Author of Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

Valentine’s Day for Widows = No Valentine, Just Pain
by Marcy Kelly, Author From Sorrow to Dancing

Widowhood: A Time for Reinvention
by Ellen Gerst, Relationship Coach & Author of Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

A Single Woman’s Adventures in Ballroom Dancing
by Marcy Kelly, Author From Sorrow to Dancing

Love After Loss – Writing the Rest of Your Story
by Ellen Gerst, Relationship Coach & Author of Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

Valentine’s Day: The Best Way To Acknowledge It…Is To Acknowledge Others
by Widow Chick

Sh*t People Say to Widows (Video)
by Fresh Widow


I Did Not Know What To Say – Additional Resources

♥  Loss of a Spouse/Significant Other

♥  Helpful Books

♥  Additional Grief Support Resources 

For additional Valentine’s Day Grief Support Resources, visit http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/Valentines_Day_Grief_Support.html

Posted in Holiday Grief Support, Loss of a Sibling, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, Valentine's Day, Virtual Book Tour, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

We are accepting Article & Interview Submission for 2014

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 25, 2014

Are you an expert in the grief recovery field? Do you have a story about your own life experience dealing with the loss of a loved one that you would like to share? Do you have tips or suggestions on how to assist a loved one after a loss? We would love to hear from you. We are open to article and story submissions for our website, newsletter and Facebook page. Please email us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

We are open for article submission for our I Did Not Know What to SayTM newsletter on the following topics:
• Tips on how to assist a loved one through the grieving process
• Inspirational stories on recovering after the loss of a loved one
• Special ways to remember a loved one during the holidays
• Featured stories on individuals and organizations that are making a difference in the grief recovery field
• How to articles on planning for a future without you (i.e. Life Insurance, Estate Planning, and Funeral Planning)
Visit our Newsletter archives: http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

We are also looking for authors to be interviewed as part of our Virtual Book Tour.
If you are an author of one of the following types of books, please contact us to be included in our 2014 Virtual Book Tour:
• Recovering from the loss of a loved one (child, spouse, sibling, significant other, parent, grandparent, friend, and pet)
• Inspirational stories on recovering from the loss of a loved one
• Inspirational books on living your best life
Visit our Virtual Book Tour: http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/griefbooks-virtualbooktour.html

We are looking for the following types of professionals to interview as part of our Planning for a Life Without You™ series:
• Funeral Planner/Director
• Estate Planning Attorneys
• Life Insurance Providers
Have an idea for an article? Want to be interviewed? We would love to hear from you. Please submit your idea or article to us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com

Sponsorships
If you have a product or service that you would like to advertise on our website or in one of our upcoming newsletters, please visit our website for more details on our advertising opportunities – http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/advertise.html

Posted in Children Grief Support, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Holiday Grief Support, Loss due to Suicide, Loss of a Aunt/Uncle, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Father, Loss of a Friend, Loss of a Grandparent, Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Loss of a Pet, Loss of a Sibling, Loss of a Spouse, Men & Grief, Military Loss, Miscarriage, Planning For A Future Without You, Share Your Story, Stillborn, Suicide Survivors, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, Virtual Book Tour, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Leave a Comment »

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on November 30, 2013

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Special Savings for the Holidays on Cyber Monday and throughout December on select gift items.

Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html
for special offers!

Christian Memorial Gifts
Gift Baskets & Food Gifts
Memorial Ornaments
Memorial Quilts & Throws
Trees, Flowers & Garden Memorials
Military Memorials Gifts
Miscarriage/Stillbirth Memorial Gifts
Personalized Memorial Frames
Personalized gift items
Pet Memorials
Remembrance Candles
Unique Gift Items
And Much More…

For Holiday Grief Support Resources, please visit our website at
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/Holiday_Grief_Support.html

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for our Free Monthly Newsletter ! http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one. Plus You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Holiday Grief Support, Loss due to Suicide, Loss of a Aunt/Uncle, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Father, Loss of a Friend, Loss of a Grandparent, Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Loss of a Pet, Loss of a Sibling, Loss of a Spouse, Military Loss, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I Did Not Know What To Say Newsletter Archive

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on July 18, 2013

I Did Not Know What To Say Newsletter Archive

Over the last several years we have provided articles and interviews on a variety of topics on how to assist a loved one through the journey of restoring balance in their life after a loss. I have put together a resource list below for you to explore and/or pass on to a loved one that might benefit from these tools. 

If there is a specific topic that you would like us to include in one of our upcoming newsletters, please email us.
 

Understanding Grief 

Are Grief & Depression the Same Thing? 
by Mark D. Miller M.D.
Dr. Miller explores the differences between Grief and Depression.
 

Helping Dispel 5 Common Myths About Grief
by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.,
Alan D. Wolfelt’s article describes five of the most common myths about grief. Through understanding and overcoming these myths we can find positive ways to help ourselves and others heal. 

Anticipating Grief
by Cheryline Lawson
Cheryline’s article gives an overview of how anticipating the loss of a loved one that is terminally ill can affect family, friends and the person who is dying.  
 

How to Support and Care for a Grieving Loved One

What To Say… When You Don’t Know What To Say 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Finding the words to support a loved one through the grieving process.
 
What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One  
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Knowing what not to say can be just as important as finding the right words to comfort a  loved one when they are grieving.
 
SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I? 
by Ann Leach, President, Life Preservers: a global grief support community
Ann’s article will give you concrete ways to provide support in the simplest of ways to a     
grieving loved one.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Helpful way to assist your love one find fun & adventure again. 
 
by Joan Hitchens, Storybooks for Healing
Tips on how writing about a loved one can be an effective tool for those grieving to process their feelings and help them restore balance in their life.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
After the loss of a loved one, there is nothing more important you can do for a friend than being a good listener.  The Gift of Listening offers 10 Tips on how to improve your listening skills.
 
by Jill Rheaume, Creator, Our Stressful Lives
Jill’s article will explore healthy ways to handle the little and big stressors in your life. 
 
by Tamar Fox
Tips to take into consideration if you’re called on to bring food to a family member or friend who’s ill, recovering from surgery, or dealing with a recent loss. 
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
You just received a phone call letting you know that your friend has lost a loved one. You now have a decision to make…What kind of supporter do you want to be? 
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Tips on how to choose a sympathy gift that expresses your deep concern.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Sharing gratitude to those that have provided support during a loss.
 

Walk Beside Me and Be My Friend
by Nan Zastrow 
Explores how relationships can change after the event of grief. Some relationships will strengthen, some relationships will end and new relationships will begin.
 
Please Cut the Grieving Some Slack
by Maribeth Coye Decker, Sacred Grove Bodywork
This article reminds us that we are all human and that we need to let kindness and forgiveness guide us when we encounter strange behaviors from those that are grieving.

Reaching out to the bereaved and getting no response
by Robbie Miller Kaplan, Author How to Say It, When You Don’t Know What to Say
Explores the reasons why someone may not respond when they are grieving and how to not take it personally.

How to Talk to Someone Who is Grieving
by Rachel Walton, MSN, CRNP
Rachel’s article offers many valuable suggestions on how to talk to and more importantly listen to someone who is grieving.

Effective Communication Skills During Grief and Mourning Following a Family or Relationship Death
by Rick Goodfriend
Rick Goodfriend’s article offers several useful suggestions on how to communicate effectively with a loved one that is grieving. 
 
Interview with Robbie Miller Kaplan – How to Say It, When You Don’t Know What to Say


How to Support a Grieving Loved One during the Holidays
 
 
The First Holidays After a Loss – How You Can Offer Your Support
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Tips on how to support a grieving friend or family member as they experience the holidays for the first time without their loved one.
 
 
Helping Children Grieve during the Holidays
by Miri Rossitto founder of Valley of Life memorial website & author of
 
A Guide to Children and Grief
Useful suggestions on how to assist a grieving child express their feelings of sadness as well as honor the memory of the loved one that passed away.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Having the support of friends and family during the holidays can make all the difference. Sometimes support and love are the best gifts you can give a friend that is grieving.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To SaySometimes the perfect gift is not perfect at all. It is your willingness to look awkward and not know what to say, and yet still show up and be there for a friend that is grieving that matters most.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Holidays can be a difficult time for those that are grieving. We have compiled a list of 12 simple and meaningful ways to support your grieving friends this holiday season.
 

Thanksgiving Memories: Love, Loss and Good Eats
by Gloria Arenson, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist 
A wonderful reminder of the simple ways to remember a loved one during the holidays.

How to Support a Grieving Window/Widower

by Marcy Kelly, Author of From Sorrow to Dancing
Marcy has provided us with her insights and suggestions on how to assist a grieving widow.
 
by Carole Brody Fleet, Author of Widows Wear Stilettos
Carol offers several fun filled suggestions on how to get through – and even enjoy Valentine’s Day when you are a widow or on your own.
 
by Taryn Davis, Founder, The American Widow Project
Writings & Tips for those who know someone who has lost their hero in the military.
 

How To Date/Marry A Widow or Widower
by Ellen Gerst
Grief and Relationship Coach, Ellen Gerst, offers several practical suggestions on how to be sensitive to your partner’s loss and at the same time grow your relationship.

Interview with Pat Nowak – ABC’s of Widowhood 

Interview with Ellen Gerst – Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story 

Interview with Carole Brody Fleet – Widows Wear Stilettos 

Interview Marcy Kelly – From Sorrow to Dancing 

Interview with Lori A. Moore – Missing Andy 

Interview with Michael Corrigan – A Year and a Day

Interview with Jennifer Hawkins – The Gift Giver


Suicide Survivors

Helping a Suicide Survivor Heal
by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. article provides many useful strategies on how to support your friends and family dealing with this type of loss.

The Myths Surrounding Suicide
by Catherine Greenleaf
Catherine Greenleaf offers insightful information on how to assist a loved one that is a suicide survivor.

Interview with Catherine Greenleaf – Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide


How to Support a Grieving Mom

What Grieving Moms Want for Mother’s Day: The Comfort Company Offers 10 Simple Ways to help Moms Cope When Mother’s Day Hurts
Survey conducted by the Comfort Company – What Grieving Moms Want for Mother’s Day is a compilation of over 200 survey responses on how you can help the grieving moms in your life cope with Mother’s Day.

Broken Angel
by Janet Kohn, Co-Founder The Broken Angels Grief Support Group
Janet offers a simple, yet profound way to explain to friends how grief changes parents who have lost a child to substance abuse.

Am I a Mother – Tips for Handling Mother’s Day After Miscarriage
by Lisa Church of HopeXchange
Lisa Church’s article explores how to ease the pain of the loss of a pregnancy and how to find hope and healing.  For friends and family, Lisa’s article is a great resource on how to offer your support on Mother’s Day.

Loss from a Miscarriage and Stillborn 

Interview with Veronica Janus – Abundantly More  

Interview with Laura Smith – In All Things Giving Thanks When Hope Seems Lost 


How to Support a Grieving Dad
 

by Kelly Farley, Founder of the Grieving Dad’s Project
Many men feel alone in their grief after the loss of a child. Kelly Farley, Founder of the Grieving Dad’s Project, offers many ways to support grieving dads by sharing his personal story.

Interview with Kelly Farley – Grieving Dads: To The Brink and Back


Loss of a Parent
 

Mother’s Day Remembrance
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Tips on how to support a loved one who is grieving the loss of their mom on Mother’s Day.
 
by Janell Vasquez of Memories are Forever
Janell’s article offers many suggestions on how to create a lasting tribute by designing a personalized memory book to honor your father’s memory. 
 
What to Do on Father’s Day When Dad is Deceased
by Laurie Mueller, RTC, ID, AED, Med
Laurie Mueller offers practical tips to honor the important men in your life that have passed away.

Interview with Chelsea Hanson – Sympathy Matters Collection

Loss of a Pet  

Loss of a Pet – How to Bring Comfort to a Grieving Friend
 by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Lori’s article offers several suggestions on how to support a friend that is grieving the loss of their beloved pet.

Support & Resources for Traumatic Loss and Natural Disasters

Natural Disaster Recovery Guide
by Dwight Bain
Dwight Bain’s article is an insightful look at the emotional side of disaster recovery.

Resources for Traumatic Loss 
Resources and helpful tips on ways to support those that are grieving in the wake of a tragedy. If you have a resource to share, please email us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com

How to Support a Grieving Child

Interview with Lynn S. Combes – A Garden Full of Butterflies

Posted in Children Grief Support, Father's Day, Gratitude, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Holiday Grief Support, Loss due to Suicide, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Father, Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Loss of a Pet, Loss of a Sibling, Loss of a Spouse, Men & Grief, Military Loss, Miscarriage, Mother's Day, Share Your Story, Thanksgiving, Virtual Book Tour, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Virtual Book Tour – Always My Brother Written by Jean Reagan

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on November 8, 2009

Thank you for joining us on our first Virtual Book Tour.  Today we Welcome Jean Reagan, the author of Always My Brother.  We are delighted that Jean has been able to provide us with her insights and suggestions on helping children through the grieving process.  Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences with grief and the healing process in the comment section below.

Always My Brother is featured on our Helpful Books page under Grief Support for Children.

And here is our interview with Jean Reagan…

What inspired you to write the book Always My Brother?

I lost my 19-year old son, John, on November 3, 2005 from a drug overdose.  As our now family-of-three began our grieving journey, I realized that Jane, my 17-year old daughter’s loss seemed to be discounted.  Everyone was concerned about how I—the grieving mother—was doing and maybe how my husband was doing.  In fact, Jane fielded many questions about her parents’ grief, but not her own.  Few people recognized what a loss she had suffered.  My always my brothercasual research confirmed that sibling loss is often considered the unrecognized grief. 

As an author, I write picture books for young readers.  So this seemed like an opportunity to write a book that could tell a story from the surviving sister’s point of view.  There are already many excellent books for older readers about sibling loss, drug issues, etc, but there are very few books for younger children about losing a sibling.  I knew there was a need, so it was a natural thing to write.  The children in my book are younger than my own kids, so that the story would speak to the target age.  And it is not a story about drugs.

For me, one unexpected benefit in writing this book was that I was able to “rewind” John’s life to a younger, happier age when he wasn’t tortured by drug addiction.

How did losing her brother change your daughter’s life? 

They were only 19-months apart in age and their interests and temperaments were a great match.  This meant they were very good friends all along.  We didn’t own a TV when they were little, so they created many imaginary worlds and games together.  And, even when John was struggling with drugs, Jane would light up like a Christmas tree when John came home.  So, in the immediate run, Jane lost her main buddy. 

In the long run, Jane lost that one person who was most likely to be there her whole life.  All events in her future—significant or minor, triumphs or disappointments—she would not be sharing with him.  Another way to look at it is that, given our ages, my husband and I lost John for maybe 30 or 40 years.  She lost him for over 60 years.  

A big shift for her, too, was that she instantly became an only child.  Who could she laugh with or commiserate with about her parents’ ridiculous or frustrating behavior? 

Children tend to handle grief differently than adults, what suggestions do you have for parents on how to talk to their children about the grief they are experiencing? 

I’m hoping my book can be used to help families openly talk about grief.  I intentionally put in many scenes we experienced in our grief journey.  John’s empty seat was so glaring, especially in car rides and at the dinner table.  I show sadness and anger, and the family’s desperate desire for things to return to normal, which of course they can’t.  Becky, the sister in the book, feels guilty when she has a delightful time at a birthday party and “forgot to miss John.”  I wanted to portray and affirm all these confusing, contradictory emotions.  Perhaps my book can offer an indirect way to discuss what is happening in a child’s own family.

It’s important, too, to let kids know that the gripping, paralyzing pain of grief does lessen over time.  The story in the book does not end until a year has passed.  Slowly Becky recaptures her joy of soccer while at the same time honoring John’s memory.  I wanted to offer authentic, realistic hope for kids who are suffering. 

In our own family, at one point—and it took a bit of emotional courage on my part because Jane was feeling quite angry—I said to her, “Jane, we are so, so sorry we weren’t able to save your brother.”  It was my best attempt to acknowledge to her that we absolutely empathize with her loss, over which she had no control.  For me and her, that conversation was one of those “break-through” moments. 

What suggestions do you have for family and friends on how to talk to a child that has lost a sibling?

I am hoping my book will help friends, extended family, classmates, and teachers who are observing the grief of a family by:

  • providing a window for them to see and better understand the internal grief
  • creating opportunities for conversation
  • fostering courage in them to reach out to the grieving child or family

A friend who had lost a child before we lost John had these words of wisdom:  “You cannot make the grieving person any sadder than they already are.  So, don’t worry about saying the wrong thing.”  This gave me the courage to reach out to her.  One way I did this was to write her a short letter once a week for a year.  (Letters can be read whenever someone is ready.)  She appreciated this so much that at the end of the year, she had me retype all the letters into one long journal entry so she could add it to the memory book.  After we lost John another friend used these words with me, “Ask me to do what you would only ask a sister to do.”  This gave me permission to ask her for help.   

Simple gestures can be very helpful:  a nod, a smile, a sincere glance, a light hug.

Generally, bereaved people love to hear that you’ve thought about their loved one.  Don’t hesitate to talk about them.  And don’t be afraid if the bereaved person tears up a bit.  My bereaved friend reassured me once by saying, “You didn’t make me cry.  You saw me cry.”  In other words, we shared a gift of connecting in a real way.

How does losing a sibling differ from losing a friend or another family member? 

A sibling, more than anyone else, is someone we expect to be around for the entirety of our life.  Sharing the same history, the same family culture, and the same generation are significant as you face the future.  You can make new friends and you can make new family members (through marriage and birth), but you cannot make a new sibling.  You lose that person for the entirety of your life.

But I think all different kinds of losses (divorce, physical debilitation, other deaths, infertility, etc.) share an emotional journey that can help illuminate the path for others, regardless of the kind or severity of the loss they experience.  Grief is not a competition but an opportunity to help heal together.     

Is there any one thing that your family or friends did for you that assisted you through the grieving process?  (i.e. a special card someone sent you, a favorite place they took you, etc.)

Honest, connecting conversations were very helpful to me.  If someone says, “I don’t know what to say, but I’m so, so sorry” that’s very comforting.  By the same token, my being able to say, “I don’t want to talk about my grief now,” helped me know I got to decide when and how to “talk grief” and when I could simply try to enjoy aspects of life when I was with others. 

It’s very healing to hear stories about John’s positive influence on others while he lived and as his memory lives on. 

Do you have any suggestions on how children can assist other children through the grieving process?

Continue to include the grieving children in fun activities.  Friends should also feel comfortable talking about the lost loved one around the grieving children. 

Do you plan to write any other children’s books? 

Yes, in fact I recently signed a contract with Knopf for a humorous picture book titled, HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDPA.   If I only had one book, I’m glad it’s ALWAYS MY BROTHER.  But it feels great to be sending a totally silly, happy book into the world, as well.

For the story behind the book, please visit www.jeanreagan.com.

Always My Brother is featured on our Helpful Books page under Grief Support for Children.

Book Description:
Always My Brother
Written by Jean Reagan; Illustrated by Phyllis Pollema-Cahill
Hardcover, $16.95, ISBN 978-0-88448-313-7
9 x 10, 32 pages, illustrations
Children / Grieving; Grades 3-6

Becky and her brother John were best buddies, telling jokes, caring for their dog Toby, and playing soccer. John was always there to cheer her up and help her out—until he died. Becky wishes everything could go back to the way it was. When she is surprised and feels guilty about enjoying a friend’s birthday party, her mom wraps reassuring arms around her and says, “Don’t you think he’d want you to laugh, even now?” She gradually realizes that she can still enjoy the things that they used to do together and that the memories of John continue to make him part of their family. Always My Brother is a sensitive, realistic story about the process of grief, acceptance, and recovery. Phyllis Pollema-Cahill’s lovely illustrations bring readers right into the heart of Becky’s family as they struggle to move forward.

Author/Illustrator Bios:
Jean Reagan lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, Peter, and daughter, Jane. Their beloved son and brother, John, died in 2005. Born in Alabama, Jean spent most of her childhood in Japan. Since graduating from Earlham College, she has worked as a community organizer, a union activist, and a writer. She cherishes her years as a full-time mother when she also worked at her children’s public school, the Open Classroom. In the summers, her family lives in a tiny, remote cabin in Grand Teton National Park where she and Peter serve as volunteer backcountry rangers. Bears visit them frequently.

Phyllis Pollema-Cahill grew in rural Minnesota. She went to work as an assistant artist in a small design studio right after high school, and ended up being creative director for one of the McGraw-Hill divisions. She later received a degree in illustration from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and has been illustrating full-time for children since December 1995. She has illustrated over forty children’s books and many magazine stories, as well as textbooks, activity books, posters, and book covers. Phyllis lives in the Colorado countryside with her husband and their two cats. She has three grown step-children and three step-grandchildren.

Teachers Take Note
Further resources for educators (also useful for parents, grief centers, etc.), are available on the Tilbury House website:
http://tilburyhouse.com/childrens/always-my-brother-teachers-take-note.htm

Always My Brother Virtual Book Tour

Nov. 1 — Welcome from Tilbury House – http://bit.ly/354orJ

Nov. 2 — Griefcase – http://griefcase.blogspot.com/

Nov. 3 — Author Jean Reagan’s website — http://www.jeanreagan.com/Blog_tour.htm

Nov. 4 — Healing the Grieving Heart – http://www.voiceamericapd.com/health/010157/horsley081309.mp3

Nov. 5 — Grief Speaks – www.griefspeaks.com

Nov. 6 — Chronicles of an Infant Bibliophile – http://infantbibliophile.blogspot.com/

Nov. 7 — heartfeltwords4kids – http://heartfeltwords4kids.blogspot.com/

Nov. 8 — I Did Not Know What to Say – http://ididnotknowwhattosay.com/

Nov. 9 — Moziesme – http://moziesme.blogspot.com/

Nov. 10 — Anastasia Suen – http://asuen.wordpress.com/

Nov. 11 – Maw Books -http://blog.mawbooks.com

Nov. 12 — Author Emily Wing Smith – http://www.emilywingsmith.com/

Nov. 13 — Bri Meets Books – http://www.brimeetsbooks.com

Posted in Grief Resources, Inspiration, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Sibling, Virtual Book Tour | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »