ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Talking to children about death can be an uncomfortable subject, so local author Sherrie Barch took on the challenge with her new book, Heaven’s Bell, to try and help families.
“We are experiencing death at such an incredible rate and its not just the adults controlling it, right? It’s all these children that are seeing it on tv and they’re losing their school teacher or their neighbors,” Barch, who is also the co-founder of Furst Group, said.
Melissa Stenstrom recently lost a close family friend. To help her daughter, Berkley, deal with the loss, Stenstrom gave her a copy of Barch’s book.
“I was experiencing [a] loss myself and experiencing my kids going through the same loss at the same time, and trying to try to explain to them,” she said. “So, we were reading in the back seat, and at some point in the book, I just stopped where we were, about…right in the middle of it, and I had to stop and start bawling, like, I couldn’t even look at anybody. I was looking out the window, just trying to keep myself together.”
Berkley told her mom the book helped her deal with her emotions.
Barch said she hopes the book can help encourage people to share memories of their loved ones.
“People don’t talk about the story. When they are done reading the book, they talk about their loved ones and that’s the biggest gift, as an author, that I can get, because it really is about: let’s continue that conversation,” she said.
Stenstrom said she plans on passing the book to others who need it.
“We knew that it was inevitable, that we were going to lose this person in our life, that there would still be a connection that we would still be able to keep,” she said. “I just never imagined it the way it happened, but [Heaven’s Bell] really did help me.”