Death, Value and Meaning Series, John D. Morgan, Series Editor
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"How does a child make sense of the loss of a beloved family member when any
explanation, even ‘it was just their time’, seems meaningless? "Letters from
a Friend is a comprehensive look at childhood grief. It is a very creative,
interactive and compassionate exploration of every aspect associated with the
grieving process (even those many adults would find far too difficult to
—Linda Bensing, Certified Child Life Specialist
"I would definitely use this book in my workings with children
and teens dealing with loss and grief. I would recommend it to families for
their own use, as well as personally using it individually with patients and
family members. Grief is such a hard topic to talk about that it’s great when a
personal, down to earth resource becomes available."
—Jan Welter, Teen Life Specialist, Lutheran General Hospital
"Letters from a Friend provides a great deal for children in
helping them cope with the loss of a sibling. It is therapeutic and a great
asset for any child going through this process, as it addresses all the needs
and issues one faces during this time. It is most useful not only for the child,
but also for the parents helping the child to cope. It is great for teachers,
social workers, and any professional who comes in contact with the child. This
is the type of book that will be useful for the child for years to come."
—Shari Lichtenstein, MSW, Department of Social Work, Loyola University Medical Center
"I was so moved by this book—moved
to tears, actually. What a tribute to the author’s sister, Andrea, and their
relationship! The author’s grief and love have worked together to produce a
wonderful gift to other grieving siblings. I look forward to being able to use
this book with future grief groups who will benefit from this work."
—Kathleen Branningan, Chaplain, MTS, Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital, Loyola University Medical Center
"Letters from a Friend is very powerful because it is so
truthful and honest and the author is so open, so thorough in all her thoughts,
so intensely personal and revealing. All of this opens the door and enables
others to do the same. Erika R. Barber’s thoughts give poignant samples which
can be easily related to by anyone. "
—Marilyn Lees Reinish, MSW, Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital, Loyola University Medical Center
"Letters from a Friend is a thought-provoking tool that
lends itself to both self-guided and therapy guided grief work for children who
have lost their siblings to disease or tragedy. Ms. Barber's own experience with
sibling loss is conveyed in a meaningful way that allows the child reader to
consider his/her own feelings related to loss.
Although the field of psychology is full of written information
on the grieving process, relatively few resources are aimed at the sibling
relationship and transformations within the child when a brother or sister dies.
The sibling relationship is perhaps one of the most under-studies and
under-emphasized relationships, despite the fact that it serves as a foundation
of many relationships that humans form later in life. When this crucial
relationship is lost, the impact can be devastating and life-long. As a
therapist, I welcome Letters as a valuable tool for helping children
manage their grief and protect their future relationships as best as possible.
...a welcome resource for any therapist or parent who wishes to help a child
through a most difficult and heartbreaking time."
—Virginia C. Wright, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist
". . . a workbook of therapeutic activities for children an adolescents who have lost a brother or sister. But what sets book apart is the honest way shares her own experiences and emotions. The book is designed for children with a terminally ill sibling of a sibling who has recently died, and does not tiptoe around issues. Activities include recording exactly what the sibling's illness or injury is/was, drawing pictures of hospital rooms and writing a letter to a dying sibling. Pages are perforated near the binding so the family can remove those exercises or sections that do not apply to their child's situation."
-Susan Loving, International Cemetery & Funeral Management, March - April 2004
ABOUT THE BOOK
Surviving the death of a brother or sister is not a phase of life that
eventually passes. Sibling survival is a life-long achievement. Letters from
a Friend: A Sibling’s Guide for Coping and Grief recognizes this and
celebrates not only the life of the brother or sister who has died but the lives
and spirits of their sibling survivors.
This unique workbook is a comprehensive compilation of
therapeutic activities developed to address the needs and issues of children and
adolescents following the death of a brother or sister. The workbook is
organized into distinct topic-specific sections relating to sibling
hospitalization, illness, injury, and death. Games, creative writing, and
drawing exercises offer opportunities to share feelings and relay experiences in
a non-threatening format. Pages are designed for easy removal to allow
personalization of the text for a survivor’s own experiences and interests.
Letters from a Friend may be used by children or teens independently to
create a personal journal of their bereavement and coping processes as well as a
chronicle of their lives as surviving siblings.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erika R. Barber received her bachelor’s degree from the Department of Human and
Family Resources at Northern Illinois University. Ms. Barber worked as a child
life specialist and coordinator at Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital of Loyola
University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, where she developed and
administered therapeutic programming for pediatric patients and families. In
addition, she was an active member of support groups for bereaved siblings and
for pediatric oncology patients.