Grief Tearbook: Seniors Prepare Their Families for Grief by Facing it Themselves

Book About Death Good for Seniors and Children - sante1
Book About Death Good for Seniors and Children – sante1
Once in a blue moon a book comes along which speaks to all ages. Grandparents can read The Heart & The Bottle for themselves & their grandchildren.

Oliver Jeffers has written a lovely story which helps people of all ages deal with the naturalness of death and grief in a beautiful and inspiring way. This book points the way toward healing – the perfect place to find when experiencing a loss.

Grandparents and Other Seniors Read The Heart and The Bottle

Although this from all appearances is a book for children, there is much to be gained for seniors who read it, even if they have no children in their lives. Reading this book can be done by older adults as a stand-along project. It gently guides the readers in dealing with their own mortality and that of others in their lives. It can spur some older adults to consider letting go of stuff, thus getting used to the idea of grief which involves letting go.

At this point the seniors may make some end of life decisions concerning wills, life insurance, or even writing a letter to grandchildren or other loved ones to read after they are gone. Some may prefer filming a video. The story may even help seniors process some of their own grief since seniors find themselves attending far too many funerals.

Using a Shared Book to Understand the Grief Process

After the older adults have spent some time with the book in order to deal with their own issues, it may be time to share it with a loved one. Due to the sensitivity of the subject, it could be helpful to have a discussion with the grandchildren’s parents before approaching them with it.

Choose a calm, non-distracted time when no one is hungry or tired. Sit with a child or children and read, stopping when needed to welcome comments and discussion. Remember that children are more likely to have lost a pet than a person, so listen with empathy if they share feelings about a pet who died. There can also be other reasons like divorce or moving, which can put a child into the grief process.

Some pauses may be appropriate to recognize and begin processing some of the feelings the book elicits. There can be value for some to a rereading after the initial flood of emotion has had a chance to subside a bit. This allows cognition to kick and furthers the understanding of the journey of grief and the hope for healing.

The Heart and The Bottle is told with touching simplicity and guides the readers towards healing as the goal of the journey of grief. Reading it can be helpful to seniors and adults as well as children. Jeffers has found a way to tap into the soul’s edgy connection between life and death, and inspire the will to go on with life’s journey without a loved one. There are plans to feature this story in a film. Seniors who share it with grandchildren or other loved ones will be giving the gift of love and permission for healing.


Jeffers, Oliver. The Heart and the Bottle. New York: Philomel Books,a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2010.

Copyright by Hildra Tague.  Obtain permission from author for use online or in print.  First published at

About grantutor

Career educator in both public and private schools. Has tutored all ages. Writes about education, parenting, & seniors. Sings harmony with folk/rock group and a choir. Caregiver for spouse who dealt with Stage IV cancer. Happy person committed to nature and conservation of a green world.
This entry was posted in Education and Parenting, Grief Tearbook, Matters of the Heart: Grief and Other Feelings, Savor Our Seniors to Grow Bold Along With Me – The Rest is Yet to Come and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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