Based on a true story of love and family, grief and joy, Tomorrow Comes (Starshine Galaxy, 2014) is inspired by the sudden and unexpected death of author Donna Mebane’s own daughter.
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This was an intriguing book. Tomorrow Comes gave me some difficulty at first. It is a young adult (YA) novel. The horror and the angst of losing a child kept haunting me as a parent and an adult reader. Since the author, Donna Mebane, based the novel on the sudden loss of her own daughter Emma, I kept being of two minds. Firstly, she is giving intimate insight into the psyche of her grieving family. I felt, at first, like a voyeur.
I read about half, then picked it up a few days later. The point of view of the grief experienced by family members, friends, and the community, shapes each chapter. Her insight into the grief experienced by each felt, at first, as if I was watching the media as they search the crowds for 'the crier', the close-ups as they zoom in to capture tears.
That made a difference, as I anticipated this review. I changed my perspective from that of a parent, to that of a teen, searching for comfort. Facing death can lead a young person into maturity or abject despair.
noun: A novel concerned with the maturing of someone from childhood to adulthood.
Whenever a student in my classroom lost a grandparent, I would grab a picture book, often loaning it to the family. There are many that deal with death and dying. I would use these to promote discussion and open up the classroom community to sharing their needs, fears, hopes and beliefs. It doesn't matter what we believe. It does help to share the grief. The activities need not be limited to elementary students.
The novel, written with the support of the author's adult child, illuminated the grieving process for modern day teenagers who create Community through Facebook, technology, and other social media. I have found that when my late mother wants to communicate with us –she sends smells (pine needles or cleaning products) to my husband. This is ironic, since mom had lost her sense of smell from a childhood disease, and hubby (my 2nd husband), knew her for such a short time.
It doesn't matter what your beliefs are, how can we prove one another wrong? This book would give the parent of a grieving child hope, and a point from which conversations could take place. It is important to open up our minds. It is important to move through grief, mourning and bereavement, towards a place where life goes on. The hardest task of a grieving parent with more than one child, is remembering to honour the child who still lives.
For more ideas and resources:
- Respect their needs: to talk or be silent.
- Deal with the issues as they arise.
- Talk to a professional if you need to.
- Listen to their concerns.
- Let them know you are upset.
- Model your strategy for dealing with grief.
- Do not give them answers if you really do not know the answers.
- Clear up misconceptions, i.e., false threats, that is it *their* fault.
- Let them tell their stories: drawing, creating poems, writing letters.
- Make a fear box. Cut out pictures from magazine that represent their fears and place them in the box.
- Have them prioritize their fears and talk to you about them.
- Help others: food banks, give a donation to a cause related to your issue.
- Read books for children about death and dying. (See my amazon.ca list) There are many for children that help them better understand that life is about, and death, too.