These days we are all a little more aware of our mortality and although this is not something to dwell on, awareness makes us more prepared for the unknown. This includes children who can often be traumatised when someone dies, if they do not know that it is a possibility.
There is very little in our social learning that prepares children for the idea that life is finite. To help balance this 5 adventure stories have been written for age 6 - 8 based on four animal characters.
Within each story is included the death of a loved one (grandparent, uncle, aunt or pet). The intention is to introduce children to the idea that amongst life there can sometimes be death and whilst it is very upsetting, it is normal. Also that there are different ways of dealing with things depending on different social backgrounds and religious beliefs.
The stories are under 20 minutes long and are for children to listen to alongside an adult. That way, if they have any question then the adult can help them. There is a link to the Marie Curie website that has some helpful advice for when children ask questions. If you do not think that they will be helpful, then please ignore them.
All the stories are about four young friends: Mabon a dragon, Owen a shetland pony, Griff a squirrel and Arial a buzzard, which is a large bird. Each one comes from a different spiritual background.
The stories start with an adventure then as they progress, one of the youngsters will experience the death of a loved one. During the funeral more may be learned about the loved one, usually through tales of adventure, showing that they can be a mix of both sad and enjoyable times. The friends support each other throughout, even though they have different backgrounds. At the end, the youngster starts to come to terms with what has happened.
Mabon loves his gran very much, as do his friends. Sadly she passes away and Mabon has to begin to understand what this means and how the family, with their Celtic spiritual beliefs, deal with it. By the end he has found a way to still feel that he is connected to his Gran.
All his life Mabon has loved the family dog Nell, but she is old and one day she passes away. He is upset and want to make sure that she has a pet funeral, with his friends there to help. Some time afterwards his Mam gives him a puppy; after worrying that Nell would not like this, Mabon finds a way where he can feel alright about things.
Owen occasionally visits his aunty Sandy and after an illness she sadly dies. He sees how upset his Dad is and it quite upset himself, although they were not very close. Coming from an atheist family he learns how they deal with the funeral and their beliefs afterwards.
Griff’s Gramps comes to live with the family and tells an exciting tale from his youth. He is old and when his time comes to die Griff has to understand what this means for him and how the family, as Christians, deal with it. By the end Griff has found a way to have the comfort of still talking with his Gramps.
Arial sees her uncle often but by mistake there is a misunderstanding between them. Tragically he dies in an accident and she is upset that they didn’t patch things up. Her Buddhist parents explain how much he loved her and during the funeral ceremony she is able to take part in a ritual of forgiveness that helps her. The experience leaves her with a useful life-lesson.