Recently, my sister-in-law gave me a gift, the book “Tear Soup,” by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeLkyn. Many people had recommended it to her as especially helpful for talking about grief with children. So, last night, I read it to my 3 daughters, ages 15, 17, and 20. It gave all of us some time to reflect on what we are all going through in the wake of my husband’s death, without the awkwardness that often accompanies digging deep into your emotions and baring your soul.
The story follows Grandy, an older, “somewhat wise” woman who has suffered a great loss. To deal with this loss, she makes tear soup. Tear soup is a beautiful metaphor for grieving, which is carried through the book giving it an allegory-like quality. Because of this, I was able to read the book without bursting in a puddle of tears. Yet, I was deeply moved, and could easily relate to Grandy, There are some things that I especially appreciated about the book.
Tear Soup is a valuable resource for anyone who is grieving
The story never reveals what type of loss Grandy and her husband Pops have suffered. The book focuses on loss, in general, without mentioning specific types in the text. There is a bookshelf, in one of the illustrations, which has cookbooks filled with all sorts of tear soup recipes.
Often grief books feel shallow, but “Tear Soup” cuts right to the heart of the matter, explaining that not only are their different types of loss, but everyone responds to it in their own way, and that’s okay. Pops and Grandy have suffered their loss together, but they each make tear soup differently. The book also talks about how other people may not like your tear soup—or how long it is taking you to make it. It recommends getting together with other cooks who are making their own tear soup, and who understand that these things can’t be rushed.
The illustrations are beautiful!
The illustrations by Taylor Bills are especially well suited to the book. So many details added to the depth of, “Tear Soup.” Another addition which will be appreciated by adults (more than children) is the section at the end, with information of grieving for specific groups of people such as children, men, couples, etc. There is also a list of resources that can help, 24/7.
The fact that my 3 teenage/young adult daughters listened to me read to them “preschool” style, speaks to the quality of the book and its ability to keep a reader’s attention. I was very moved by the story and I’m sure I will read it many times in the future. I definitely recommend it to anyone going through a loss, or who would like to help a friend going through a loss.
“Tear Soup” deserves 5 Stars!
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In 2012 doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan, with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, our family has been learning what it means to face cancer. I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.
My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available on Amazon.com
Also, put your memories into words with The Memory Maker’s Journal.
I also blog at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker