Little Lion's Writers' Workshop Piece
In the past I’ve written about book recommendations for children when someone in the family dies. One book that we have, When Someone Very Special Dies by Marge Heegard, is specially made to be illustrated by children. Mini Me, who was 2 1/2 at the time that Macy died, returned to the book again and again. And I brought it out again for Little Lion this year and asked if she wanted one of her own because she has had so many questions about the sister she never got to meet. By the way, this is exactly how she phrases it—that it’s not fair that she didn’t get to meet her. I have to explain that nothing about the death of one’s child is ‘fair’ and that Macy is actually her older sister.
Last week Little Lion came home with two story packets that she had been working on in Writers’ Workshop at school. One was about China and Hong Kong, and the other one was all about Macy. I love her drawings and her interpretations of what we’ve shared about her big (‘little’ because she’s always seen as a baby) sister.
I’m sharing these pages here (with permission) because I thought it was such a great experience for her to draw and write through her feelings, especially as she feels ‘left out’ sometimes in our grief over Macy. Even though Little Lion never got to ‘meet’ Macy or feel her kicks or look into her eyes, she still shares a great love and great connection with her sister.
Side note: I recently attended the book launch of Maria D. Laso’s Otherwise Known as Possum (review to come). Though I never met Mari Lou (as she’s known by her friends and family), she was part of a writing community that I am associated with. The book launch focused on her journey as a writer and her fight to the very end to put out the best book possible. I say ‘to the very end’ as she passed away in 2015 amidst edits for this debut novel. Her own personal story was inspiring, and I’ve heard that as a Creative Writing teacher, she was inspiring as well.
On that same morning, I read the NYT article by well known children’s book writer, Amy Krause Rosenthal who has terminal cancer. It got me to thinking about the short amount of time we have here, and how we can make a difference. I, like many people, get caught up in the daily grind, and when I go to bed sometimes what I wish most is that I could have a do-over—that I could spend those extra minutes with my eldest reading side by side instead of admonishing her for her messy room, that I could pause to kiss my husband good-bye instead of rushing out the door. And, that I could write the words I want to write instead of wasting time.
But in the words of Lucy Maud Montgomery, ““Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” Today is my tomorrow. And I’m going to take advantage of that. :D