Jeremy Hornik's Reviews > Lifetimes: A Beautiful Way to Explain Life and Death to Children

Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie
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May 20, 11

bookshelves: kids, keepers

A wonderful and important book. In a simple and matter-of-fact way, "Lifetimes" explains death in a way that children can understand. It is not particularly comforting. Its straightforward prose can even be unnerving... but it's not the book, it's the topic.

My daughter Donna was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 20 months. After two years of treatment, we decided to stop. The treatments were too damaging to her, and each one ended in another relapse. She lived on in wonderful shape: went to pre-school for the first time, watched her new baby brother grow, went to dance classes and read many, many books. One of these books was "Lifetimes". We read this a few times, and then, she started to ask some questions about it. Finally she asked about herself, and we talked about what was happening with her. Because of this book, we could talk about death with her. At the end, she knew she was dying and she was not afraid.

She was in hospice this whole time. After three months, the tumor limited what she could do and she felt sicker, needing more pain medication. Shortly after that, she spoke her last words. She spent a week in bed between her mother and me, sleeping, and then in the middle of the night, she died. This was a painful week but a peaceful one--because we'd had the chance to talk about death.

So I can't recommend this book enough. Hopefully your experience of "Lifetimes" will not be like mine. But we are all going to die, every one of us, and this book can help to understand that without fairy tales or hysteria.
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message 1: by Hjwh (new)

Hjwh I'm Jeremy's mother. Lifetimes helped me, too, to find a perspective on my granddaughter's death. It is a powerful book, presenting a way for a child--and her grandmother-- to comprehend the cycle of life and death. A year and a half after my granddaughter died, when i re-read this book I still find comfort and a kind of acceptance.


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