This morning, a new children's book entered our library that had been ordered by our wonderful building manager. Grandpa's Tent is written by two Episcopal Priests- The Rev. Mary Davila and The Rev. Sarah Kinney Gaventa.
It's a story of a young girl who enjoys a few days of camping with her Grandpa every summer. During these camping trips she would grow, not only in how she helped her Grandpa with the tent but the stories he told and the lessons on life and death that he taught her. When discussing death, they talked about her late Grandma who passed before the story which introduced the girl to the concept of Heaven. Being on earth is like living in a tent for a few days. After a short time has passed, the tent (our bodies) are taken down and put away. The camping trip (life) is over and we go home (Heaven).
This concept is brought home for the girl when Grandpa becomes ill the next summer and they can no longer go camping. Not only does she have to deal with a cherished routine coming to an end, but the loss of her Grandpa when his own life comes to a sudden end. When she is told her Grandpa had died, she is given a box containing her Grandpa's tent which causes her to cry. As the story continues, the girl tries to cope with the loss of such an important person in her life as her family prepares for the funeral and she eventually sees Grandpa's body in his casket and later when the casket is lowered into the ground. The story ends several weeks later when her mother suggests that they pitch Grandpa's tent in the backyard and as she starts to fall asleep, she imagines Grandpa smiling at her from Heaven.
When I read this story, I felt tears in my eyes and my heart was touched deeply. This story was frank yet appropriate for children who might be dealing with a loved one who is ill or dying. The story is helpful not only for grieving children but parents who might be struggling with how to introduce their children to the concept of death and grief. In the back of the book are tips for before the funeral, during the funeral, and the weeks that follow.
Grandpa's Tent is available in the Parish Library and I highly recommend it for anyone who would find comfort in this excellent read. It can also be found on Amazon (Remember to use Smile to benefit St. Mary's!) for 12.00 at: https://www.amazon.com/Grandpas-Tent-Sarah-Kinney-Gaventa/dp/0880284404/ref=cm_wl_huc_item