Congratulations, Portia! Please tell us about the focus of your new book, “Things To Do While Missing You.”
Thank you! I’m very excited about the opportunity to speak on my new book. This book was a journey to create and focuses on healthy expressions of grief, particularly those we can introduce to children to honor a lost loved one.
1) What ages and populations do you believe would most benefit from this book?
This book is geared toward children 4 to 8 years old. I intentionally wrote it for this audience because we do not often speak of children’s experiences of grief. As a new mother, I’ve come to understand that children can be much more perceptive and impacted by these experiences than we may believe.
2) What was the inspiration behind writing this book?
This book was the voice of my inner child. My brother, who I lost suddenly last January, was my best friend and confidante. When we became adults, he taught me the importance of community through those he chose as family and left many nieces and nephews here that cared very much for him. Occasionally, they asked me if I knew “Uncle Barry” had died. Many of these children may have never experienced the loss of someone close to them, and my inner child and their sense of loss spoke to me.
3) As a mother, can you share how important it is to explain to young children when family and friends have passed away? Can your book be used as a tool to assist anyone at any age in teaching about death?
Young children, like adults, build a sense of reality with the people close to them and may place things like their love and safety in the hands of those people. A loss of a person entrusted with that can cause a void, and without having a conversation around that loss, even the youngest could be suffering in silence without the tools to work through what they are feeling. For children that need a healthy outlet, this book provides activities that can assist in expressing their feelings and creating a positive memory while feeling supported. In addition, in the ten years I worked with children in the health services field, I learned that children in motion sometimes offer more insight into their feelings that can better inform us adults. With that information, we can provide better support.
4) Can you share a bit about your process in creating the book and how you integrated that into your family life?
When I began writing the book, I was a full-time, working mother who was still nursing. I decided from the beginning that it wouldn’t be “when” but “that” I finished. I broke down the writing process and gave myself small tasks to do that could get done within the half hour I was pumping or before going to bed. Writing this was a work of heart that I knew I would complete and knowing I wanted to do this not just for myself but for young children going through their seasons of grief kept me accountable. Having that as my “why” kept me going those late nights.
5) What do you hope people will take away from the book?
What I learned and hope people take away is that there are healthy ways to grieve and ways we can teach our children. I am now cautious and say there isn’t a right and wrong way to mourn. However, there are healthy and unhealthy ways; the earlier we have the tools, the better.
6) Where can people purchase “Things To Do While Missing You”?
Anyone looking to purchase the book can find it at mindalign.com. We will also be on Amazon as of April.
7) Is there anything else you would like to add?
As a society, I hope we get comfortable discussing death and speaking about it as a part of life. Death is not an “if” but a “when.” It may not be predictable, but it is inevitable. We have distanced ourselves from it in western society and made it almost taboo to discuss despite being bombarded with it daily through media and news outlets. I hope we come to a healthy place with this concept to help those better transition from this life and the youngest understand that everything has its season.
To Purchase a copy of the book for yourself or someone you know please click the link below:
Jacqueline Demeri has a diverse background in education, literature, workshop facilitation, herbalism, and yoga. She brings over 25-years of experience teaching ages preschool – adults. Her love of learning, and enthusiasm for sharing life-enriching information is transferred to her classes and writing projects. She is the author of Animooves: Yoga & Creativity Inspired by Animals, a Mom’s Choice Gold Honoree book.