When I wrote My Sibling Still, I had no idea that I was actually going to publish it. One day the words came to me during a very low, very sad moment. The words were as though as they were spoken to me by my own deceased son, Jessie. I wrote them down. I got my husband to come look at them. He cried. Then he told me that I needed to share it with others.
That's how My Sibling Still came to be published. I realized that the words of comfort from my own baby were not just for me. They were for others, too, who needed that sense of affirmation and warmth.
I worked with an illustrator in my town, Joshua Wichterich, who was amazing. He had experienced the loss of a baby at the same weeks of gestation I was when I lost Jessie. The whole loss experience, he understood it. I was so honored to have a bereaved daddy work on the pictures to accompany my words.
It felt important to me to give Joshua freedom in illustrating the book. I wanted to see how he interpreted the words. I also wanted him to draw entirely from his heart with no interference from me.
The results were stunning. More than that, I was deeply moved to see that Joshua had drawn his and my own loss stories into the pages. It was then that I realized that My Sibling Still was autobiographical. It is our own stories, yet they are stories all too familiar to millions of people. It was extremely personal and at the same time entirely universal.
It is from that point that I got the idea for this activity for children. It was very important in my healing journey for me to write down my story, so I figured that some kids out there may benefit from writing down their's.
Below you will find various downloadable make-your-own-book pages. Take a look at the different formats and choose those that would be best for your child. For a young child, the "Two Pictures with Text" page may be best. Most of the space is dedicated to illustration with a small area for text beneath. Older children and teens may like the "All Text" or "Large Left/Right Picture with Text" formats. It gives more room for writing.
You can feel free to mix it up, using different formats for the same book. You decide. It's your story.