I Am Standing Upon the Seashore: Children's Coloring Booklet
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Through metaphor “I Am Standing Upon the Seashore” helps us talk about the signs of approaching death (stages of death) with children. Whether you are a hospice caregiver, grieving grandparent, parent, sibling or teacher who needs to explain to children about the loss of a loved one this coloring booklet provides a gentle means to reach understanding through a story, pictures and the art of using color. This booklet can also assist us explaining bereavement to a child who is preparing to say good-bye to life themselves.
“I am Standing Upon the Seashore” is Henry Van Dykes’ poem, “Gone From My Sight” set to drawings of Viking ships. In this way the poem becomes a personal story in which the child can tenderly see and interact with the concept of bereavement through coloring. These pictures present a kindly characterization of the end of life journey offering hope, lessening our fear of death and softening the grieving process inherent with a long goodbye.
Poems and art often take us to places the rational mind can’t go. Poems about death and the grieving process can help grieving children begin to neutralize some of the fear and cultural misconceptions most of us have concerning dying and death. Engaging with a young person through this coloring activity we can simply and compassionately begin our conversation about the final good-bye.
The child in all of us can relate to these images as we are looking for meaning and comfort in the stages of grief. No matter the age of the reader, it can bring understanding and reassurance to us when we or a loved one is on hospice and journeying into the stages of death. “I Am Standing Upon the Seashore” is simple yet profound and consoling.