A few years back my beautiful sister-in-law sent me a book, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, to help me with the loss of someone very special. Although it was a child's book, I did find it sweet and welcoming in my time of need. And when I had my own children, I kept the book around as part of their ever growing collection of books.
I've read the book to my children numerous times. It's a tale about the life of a little leaf, Freddie, and how he comes to terms with finding purpose in his life, enjoying it, and then finally accepting death as a part of everyone's circle of life.
It's always been one of those books that I pull out from time to time, a simple reminder that although we don't know how long we have on sweet Mother Earth, we all have time to make the most of it. Unfortunately, a few summers back we witnessed a horrible tragedy as a family: the death of a little boy.
A sweet little friend of my children. Practically a member of our family. A soul never to be forgotten...
My children were there and saw the unthinkable. Understandably, they still talk about it to this day. My three year old even says she can see him and talks to him frequently. Just today I thought I could hear his little voice in the wind while we were at one of his much loved parks..."Come on Juli...let's play!"
And although it doesn't make things better, it doesn't help us know what happened, this little book about Freddie has helped us remember that life is not only short, but precious. We all have a purpose. Andrew, someone who was only on here for such a short time, had a purpose. He showed us that we should enter all situations with the best intentions. That there is cause for smiling and laughing-out-loud all times of the day. That we shouldn't wait another minute to hug those we love, and to tell them so.
If you know of a child who has experienced a loss, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf is a very good companion to all the words and hugs of sympathy. It's also a good book to have to help explain to kids that we all have a purpose for our lives. That even though a leaf is small, it's part of a great big tree. And that everything living is part of the same cycle of life.