Grief is a Mess is an illustrated book for grieving kids, teens, and adults who need a healthy dose of understanding, comfort, and laughter. With over 40 watercolor illustrations, it shows that although there may be no straightforward map through grief, there can still be laughter and positive experiences amidst the mess. You can watch people reading the entire book here.
Why I Made the Book
When my mum was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer, we came across the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance). My mum and I quickly concluded that 5 stages simply weren't enough for all of the emotions we experienced.
For Christmas that year, I made my mum a cartoon book depicting all of the other stages I felt should be included. I can still hear her laughing as she looked at each illustration.
My mother passed away in 2014 and in 2015 I turned that cartoon book into a full-fledged humorous book for adults called, "Grief is a Mess."
Why I Used Animal Illustrations
Grief is a heavy topic. However, I didn't want to create an emotionally draining book. I wanted to give people the chance to explore grief without it being overwhelming. Through making animals express human experiences, it enables the reader to detach a little from strong emotions and even have a good laugh on ocassion.
I knew from the beginning that I wanted the primary message of the book to be told through illustrations. Every person responds to art differently and I wanted the reader to find what he or she needed in the book through his or her reaction to the illustrations.