Monday, June 11, 2007

Getting Started on a Wild Ride...

So, here I am, creating a blog to promote my upcoming children's book, Remembering Ruby: For Families Living Beyond the Loss of a Pet. I wrote the book back in 2003, shortly after losing our beloved beagle, Bijoux. She was 13 years old and was diagnosed with cancer in late January. By the end of March we had to make plans to let her go and on April 5, 2003, we did just that. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

I was on the lookout for a book about pet loss to share with my kids, ages 10 and 8 at the time...but I really couldn't find one that I thought might offer something helpful to them. After I ended my book search, my husband and I just did what we would have done in any other parenting situation: we talked to our kids about it. Turns out, they were fine: sad, but fine. They asked questions when they had them, and we did our best to answer them. They were real troopers, and although they missed Bijoux very much, they coped with the loss very well.

Shortly after her death I began typing...and typing...and typing the story of Bijoux's life with us. I didn't write it intending to publish it; rather, it was a way for me to cope with my own grief. That amazing dog had been with me from 10 weeks old on. She was my companion while my husband was in the Navy and out on deployment, she was extremely tolerant of both kids as they came along, and was just the best pet I could ever imagine for our family in general. It made me feel much better to type her story because I was so worried once she was gone that I would forget the little things about her.

After I finished writing about her 13 years with us, it occurred to me that creating my own children's book about pet loss could possibly help other families with their own grief. That's how Remembering Ruby was born! It is told from the point of view of my older son, and it is full of actual black and white photographs which illustrate the story. It is appropriate for everyone and anyone, but especially for families with children ages 5-9. In the back I have included a "Parent Guide" with ideas on coping with grief as a family.

My sister Julie is a graphic designer and bravely took on the challenge of designing the entire book, literally from cover to cover. She has spent hours upon hours on this project, and working with her on it has been a very special experience for me. We're in the final stages now, getting ready to send it in for publication with Outskirts Press within a week or two, hopefully. It will be available for purchase on Amazon. I'll post more information as I get it!