This month I have chosen some “Pearls” to help us through these difficult times from a selection of children’s books that I came to rely on as a Primary School teacher, many years ago in England. Though written for children, I feel that the messages are also completely relevant to adults. I revisit them sometimes myself when I need to find comfort at these dark times. Of course, for those of you with children and grandchildren, these books would make wonderful gifts to help them through sad times.
“I’ll Always Love You” by Hans Wilhelm, tells the story of a little boy who’s dog, Elfie, grows up faster than he did. As he notices his old friend growing less active and frailer, he takes comfort in the fact that he tells her every day,
“I will always love you.”
“Saying Goodbye to Lulu” by Corinne Demas and illustrated by Ard Hoyt, tells a similar tale of a little girl who loves her dear friend, Lulu. Lulu dies after a long and happy life and is buried in the yard where her family plants a cherry tree in her memory. After a long period of mourning, the little girl is finally able to accept her loss, say goodbye to Lulu and embrace a new companion.
Both are fabulous books that are sensitively written and beautifully illustrated and cannot fail to help in difficult times.
However, it is the book, “Badger’s Parting Gifts” by Susan Varley, that resonates with me the most. In this book, a group of woodland animals lives and learn from their dear old friend, Badger. It is the lessons he teaches them through life, that help them finally to accept Badger’s passing and remember all the gifts he left behind for them. This book can provide comfort at all times of loss – of our pets and far beyond.
Here are a few excerpts from “Badger’s Parting Gifts.”
“Badger was dependable, reliable, and always ready to help when help was needed. He was also very old, and he knew almost everything. Badger was so old that he knew he must soon die. Badger wasn’t afraid of death. Dying meant only that he would leave his body behind and, as his body didn’t work as well as it had in days gone by, Badger wasn’t too concerned about that. His only worry was how his friends would feel when he was gone.”
As the book progresses, Badger does indeed die and his friends are all very sad. However, as time goes by, each friend discovers that he has a special gift or talent that he learned from his dear friend. Through remembering and experiencing the joy of the lessons Badger taught, the friends are able to accept Badgers loss and celebrate the happiness he brought to all of their lives.
“Each of the animals had a special memory of Badger – something he had taught them that they could now do extremely well. He had given them each something to treasure: a parting gift that would become all the more special each time it was passed on to others. As the last of the snow melted, so did the animals’ sadness. Whenever Badger’s name was mentioned, someone remembered another story that made them all smile. One warm spring day as Mole was walking on the hillside where he’d last seen Badger, he wanted to thank his friend for his parting gift. “Thank you Badger”, he said softly, believing that Badger would hear him. And. …Somehow…..Badger did.”
I believe that each of our pets gives us unique and precious gifts while they are with us. If we are willing to listen, they will also teach us some pretty special lessons. We are the lucky ones to share our lives with them for however long this may be. In this month’s blog (the first in a series about my own journey with many wonderful canine companions over the years), I talk a little about the lessons learned from some of my special friends.