There's a new book out on PM press edited by the fabulous Vikki Law and China Martens and I have a chapter in it entitled "Parental Caregiving and Loss: Ideas for Caregivers and their Allies," co-written with my good friend and loss collaborator Cynthia Schemmer. The anthology, "Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements & Communities," is the long-awaited book version of the zine that Vikki and China have been putting out for the past 6 years. While not focusing exclusively on loss outside of Cynthia and I's chapter, the book is chalk full of helpful tips, concrete suggestions, personal narratives, mistakes, and successes around how to support parents, families, and children in activist communities. You can pick up a copy here.
From the Preface:
“There are many books on parenting, but few on being a good
community member and a good ally to parents, caregivers, and children as
we collectively build a strong all-ages culture of resistance. Any
group of parents will tell you how hard their struggles are and how they
are left out, but no book focuses on how allies can address issues of
caretakers’ and children’s oppression. Isolated by age within an
individualistic, capitalist culture, many well-intentioned childless
activists don’t interact with young people on a regular basis and don’t
know how. Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind provides them with the
resources and support to get started.” (p. 4)
From Our Chapter on Parental Loss:
loss stirs up fears in all of us. Every one's parents are going to
die, but we live in a culture that rarely acknowledges this reality. We
usually have great difficulty finding the words to say to someone who
has lost a parent, both because we rarely learn how to speak
authentically about loss, and also because the words we might say are so
easily drowned out by the crashing sounds of our own reactions in our
heads. The first thing for you to do when supporting someone throughout
this is check in with yourself about your fears, experiences, feelings
and barriers so you can be present with them. Acknowledging these
things helps you to be in touch with them instead of pushing them away.
If you are in touch with these fears, you may even be able to use them
to help support the person by allowing yourself to empathize with how
they might be feeling."
Check Vikki and China's blog for updates on appearances in various cities to publicize the book!