I had intended for this post to come later on in the scheme of things, but it was World Ovarian Cancer Day earlier this week, so now seems an appropriate time. I lost my mother-in-law to this horrible disease last year. When we realised that her days were numbered, I tried to find a book to read to Munchkin to help her prepare for what was coming, unfortunately the type of book I was looking for didn’t seem to exist.
I had many recommendations for children’s stories that deal directly and sensitively with death. The problem was, they all upset her so much that she couldn’t sleep. The only alternative suggested was The Paper Dolls, by Julia Donaldson. I was told that this dealt with permanent loss and memories living on. The problem was, it was so subtle. Munchkin just thought it was another nice story by The Gruffalo lady, whilst I was on the verge of tears because it reminded me of my own mother!
Munchkin did actually deal with the loss of her Nanny really well, but no thanks to any books we read. I felt there was a gap in the market for a story aimed at young children, which unequivocally deals with permanent loss, without mentioning death. I have already started writing the story, but it’s not finished yet.
Told through the eyes of a little girl called Lily, it’s the story of an alien whose space ship crashed on Earth many years ago. He has been accepted in the local community and is a popular grandfather figure with the children. He has the opportunity to finally return to his own planet – this will be a permanent move since he’s very old. Lily has to come to terms with him leaving but she accepts that they will always be thinking of each other, and if she’s feeling especially lonely, she only has to look at his special star in the night sky.
I promise that the other story I’ve written, and most of my other writing, is on a less serious subject. I just felt now was the right time to blog about this particular tale.
Photo credit: Foter.com