I want to tell you about the book I read at story time today. It's among my favorite books for children, especially when they're in need of comfort at a time of loss.
Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corinne Demas (Ard Hoyt, illustrator) tells the story of a girl's grieving over the loss of her much-loved family dog, Lulu. The story is told in first person—the narrator is a early elementary school girl.
The telling does not dodge the poignant sadness of loss. Lots of sensory details that bring the reader right up close to Lulu's decline.
The first page starts out:
"When my dog Lulu got really old she couldn't climb the stairs anymore. She'd wait for me at the bottom and her tail would go thump, thump. Sometimes she didn't hear me calling her, and when we went on walks she stayed closed beside me because she couldn't see well."
It goes on:
"When Lulu couldn't walk anymore I would carry her out to the grass. When she couldn't see or hear at all, she could still smell. She would lift her head to sniff the outside world. I fed her from my hand and held her water bowl so she could drink.
I put all her dog toys—her squeaky and her rawhide chew and my old slipper—nearby her. At night I covered her with my blue sweater, the one she always pulled off my chiar and curled up with when I wasn't home."
The story takes us all the way through Lulu's passing and the sadness and difficulty of saying goodbye.
Anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one may find it hard to read this story aloud without spilling some tears.
That's how it is for me. And was for Mrs. Zell. And for several of the kids in class today.
It's a good book to read to any child who is experiencing loss.
Just so you know.... this book ends in hope and new-found love—real love made deeper and richer by the losses described so vividly at the beginning.