Book Review: Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss
Pat Schwiebert, Chuck DeKlyen, Taylor Bills (Ilustrator) Perinatal Loss: 1999, 56pp.
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It’s hard to explain death and loss to our kids. Sometimes I’m not sure we give them enough credit for what they can understand and take in, even in some small measure. The authors of Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss would agree and have created a story that walks children through felt loss that could include everything from the death of a family member or a pet to the loss of a prized possession. Loss is loss, and requires some form of grieving for emotional health.
Tear Soup follows the character Grandy, an “old and wise woman” who has suffered a loss; although, we never find out what that loss is. Grandy sets out to make “tear soup” which she has tried before when a friend shared “well seasoned tear soup” after the death of a child. Through Grandy, the authors explain that “tear soup is a way for you to sort through all the different types of feelings and memories you have when you lose someone or something special”. In the same way that a recipe is followed with its specific ingredients, the recipe of grief and loss has its own ingredients including memories, misgivings, feelings and tears steeped over time. But even with similar “ingredients”, or elements, each person’s “tear soup” has its own unique flavour - no two are alike. This story gives people permission to grieve in their own way, with their own timeline. The beauty of this book is that it speaks to a wide range of individuals that could be impacted by a person’s grief process, including the one grieving. Although the format is a children’s book it has much to teach adults about grieving freely and finding our own recipe.
Reviewed by: Karen Rennie is Director of Community at St. Paul’s Church in Leaskdale, Ontario. She has a Masters of Arts in Counseling and is currently a Stephen Ministry care leader. Karen and her husband have three elementary school-aged children.
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