Will I Forget My Loved One? A review of a children’s grief book and how it can help adults too

Sometimes, I wonder what happens to your love now that you’re gone? Did it die too? Because I’m scared I’ll forget you.

A children’s grief book arrived in our office a few weeks ago that has resonated on my 34 year old heart. It’s called The Memory Box and goes from the fears a grieving child has to what they can do to remember thier loved one. Early on in the book, the child asks some big questions, “Sometimes, I wonder what happens to your love now that you’re gone? Did it die too? Because I’m scared I’ll forget you.”. Most adults would respond to the child saying there is no way that will happen.

Honestly, after losing some very close loved ones a few years back, I questioned this very thing myself. There are no new memories being made, surely the old ones will fade away, right? Grief can and will make your mind believe things that you once would have said could never have happened, like forgetting a loved one after they have died.

The child in the book proceeds to make a box with items that bring back good memories such as sand from a beach they spent time on. She talks about being sad but also being able to have good days. In my own grief journey, I have found it extremely helpful to do the same. I have become a big Los Angeles Dodgers fan to keep a connection with my father who passed away. There are many things, big and small, that we can do to keep their memories going including talking about our loved ones and not avoiding the topic. There are a lot of holiday rituals that people participate in where they also acknowledge a loved one who has died, whether it be having an empty chair at the dinner table or lighting a special candle; these can be important to not just the children in the room but also the adults who are grieving.

I was afraid I would forget you. But I won’t.

Sometimes even as an adult an ah-ha moment can come from a children’s book.

The Hospice Foundation of America has a plethora of great resources for professionals who work in end-of-life and grief. One of their recent webinars, Transforming Loss: Finding Potential for Growth, discusses resiliency after loss. A fact that the panelists pointed out was that kids under around the age of eight have a difficult time understanding paradox, they cannot understand being able to have a good day while also feeling all this pain inside. This book is great for very young children who struggle with that because it reminds them that their loved one lives in their heart and it is very possible to be grieving and also have good moments.

What are ways you keep your loved one’s memories alive?