Importance of Helping Children Cope with Grief
Importance of Helping Children Cope with Grief Staff

Lucy Geddes is the author of the children’s book titled “Where Did Nicky Go?

Why I Decided to Write “Where Did Nicky Go?”

My family had a golden retriever years ago named Nicky. When he was 13 years old our veterinarian discovered during a routine checkup that he had a tumor. He told us that he was too old to go through an operation and we should take him home, give him lots of love and enjoy him with whatever time we had left with him. This was the first time my three children experienced the death of a pet dog. Those of us who have gone through it know how difficult that can be. Children, as well as adults sometimes, may have a lot of questions. I had always wanted to write children’s books and this was my inspiration for writing my first one as I wanted to write a story that children would enjoy, and hopefully, help them through the grieving process.

Why it is Important to Help Children Cope with Grief

There are many times throughout children’s lives when they go through difficult periods, losing a pet or loved one is one of those times. We need to remember that children are learning as they grow, but they do need guidance. That is where parents, grandparents, and teachers come in.  Children need to be able to talk to someone if they are sad, confused, angry, etc. Sometimes they just need someone to listen to them.  Grandparents are wonderful in this area!  Parents are, too, but grandparents may have more time to listen and be patient. I have seen this happen with my parents and my children. I have also experienced it with my husband and I and our grandchildren. Children may also have questions. We need to remember to answer their questions giving them only enough information as they can handle at their age. I have always felt that it is better to help children work through their issues than ignore their problems. Problems that are ignored may develop into bigger issues or children may seek out others for the answers that they need. With our patience and understanding we can guide them through their difficult times, helping them to become confident, independent individuals able to make intelligent decisions.

In my book, Where Did Nicky Go? Danny’s parents listen to him and ask him questions in order to guide him in making the right decisions. His mom is very patient with him but makes sure he takes responsibility for his actions. When he asks his mom questions, she answers them briefly, but directly. It is my hope that this heartwarming story will make it easier for children and parents to have discussions if they are going through the loss of a beloved pet or the loss of a loved one. I think that reading a book about a child who has just lost his beloved pet would be a good framework for helping to initiate a conversation between a parent and their child or a grandparent and their grandchild.

Excerpt from “Where Did Nicky Go?” by Lucy Geddes

“Danny, is that you?” called his mom.
“Yup, I’m home.”
“You must be so excited. You’re on summer vacation!” said his mom.
“It’s not going to be the same, Mom, without Nicky,” said Danny. “We used to do so many things together.”

“I know, Danny. But we can always get another dog if you want to.”
“I don’t want another dog, Mom. I want Nicky!” yelled Danny. He dropped his backpack and ran upstairs to his room.

Why didn’t Nicky get better like he usually did? Danny wondered as he lay on his bed, a tear rolling down his cheek. When he, his mom, and dad had taken Nicky to their vet, Dr. Comings said that Nicky needed an operation. But because he was older now, it would be too dangerous for him. Dr. Comings had said they should take him home, take good care of him, and give him lots of love. So they did. However, Nicky was very tired most of the time, so he would cuddle up to Danny and rest his head on Danny’s lap. Danny would gently pat him. But a few weeks later, he died. Now Danny missed him so, so much. Nicky had been his best friend.

About the Author

Lucy Geddes is a retired elementary teacher having taught kindergarten, Readiness, and first grade for a total of 33 years and received her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Plymouth State College (now Plymouth State University). She is also a mother of three grown children and a grandmother of six grandchildren. Geddes is currently working on her second children’s book, Grammy Said, “No!” that explores the expectations that Grammys always say yes to everything. However, in this delightful tale, a Grammy soon realizes that sometimes “No!” may not be the best response and sometimes it is the perfect response. To learn more please visit, 

Post a Comment