During the National Alliance for Grieving Children conference, Dr. Heidi Horsley connected with Tiffany Papageorge to discuss her book, My Yellow Balloon: A Book About Loss. It’s a book about any kind of loss, using metaphors to take you through the process of loss. It was initially written as a high school project for class. Her teacher adored it so much she tried to publish it. That didn’t happen, but the story followed Papageorge through the years. Now it’s been published, and focuses on the transformation that comes when we feel our way through grief rather than push it aside.
Some amazing changes and transformations can occur. The feedback Papageorge has received from parents who read the book to their children has been tremendous. It offers language you can use to communicate with your family. An invaluable tool, it opens up dialogue naturally. This can be especially challenging for parents and children who need to check in on a daily basis. Dr. Horsley, who works with grieving families, sees this time and time again: Parents just can’t seem to connect with their grieving kids.
One Tool of Many
Papageorge initially wrote the story at 14, when she was a grieving child. That’s still highlighted in the book, and you can see it was written from the perspective of a grieving child. At that point in her young life, Papageorge had lost many people. Today, she loses between 7-15 loved ones each year. What helps her find hope is creativity, which is what inspired her book.
The antidote to depression is creation, according to Papageorge. Her mother nurtured this, and consistently put her in situations where she could express with creation. From art to journaling and everything in between, creativity is a fantastic processing tool.