Monday, May 11, 2009
Literacy and Life Lessons
In January of 2006 my oldest sister, Rebecca (32), was diagnosed with stage 4 of a rare, bile duct cancer. She has been through many tough surgeries (including a liver resection), chemo, and other treatments. Right now, she has 13 small tumors in her lungs, and just had major surgery to once again remove growing tumors from her liver.
Rebecca has a daughter, Kylynn. Kylynn is 4 years old. She was only a year and a half old when Rebecca was diagnosed, and consequently has only ever known (that she remembers) a mommy who is fighting cancer.
This is really hard on Kylynn. She doesn't fully understand what is happening to her mommy, but knows that she is sick, that Mommy has "owwies" on her inside, and that Mommy's doctors are trying to "fix" her.
(left to right) Me, my sister Julia, my sister Rebecca. Each us holding our kiddos. Taken last summer.
Though none of us like to think about it, we know that it's a possibility that Rebecca might not live as long as we all desperately want her to. It's a possibility, but Rebecca has been beating the odds left and right thus far, and our God is a God who makes all things possible!
Yet another wonderful thing about books and stories is their ability to teach, explain, and convey information to children (and adults!) that is not always easy to hear and/or understand. They can open doors for meaningful conversation, help create a special bond, and give children an easy opportunity to ask questions and wonder aloud about tough topics... like cancer.
This weekend, while visiting my family in Chicago, Rebecca told me about a book that she's been reading with Kylynn to help Kylynn understand the concept of death, and of heaven. A valuable lesson for all children to learn! This book is called Waterbugs and Dragonflies.
Rebecca and Kylynn have been enjoying reading and discussing this book together. Forming a unique bond, and special memories through literature. How awesome.
I know that this is not the only book of its kind. There are parents out there that have used picture books as a catalyst for opening up dialogue about all kinds of issues, emotions, and experiences their children have gone though or been confronted with.
Have you had such an experience with literature? Either when you yourself were a child, or with your own children? Please share! I would love to hear about some more great book titles!
Oh! And you can read my sister Rebecca's writings at her blog - Even on the Rainiest Day.