EV author writes new book on the impact of parental death | Community
East Valley freelance writer Michelle Shreeve was just 9 years old when her mother passed away and even 30 years later, her loss is never far from her mind.
In many ways, this shaped her career as a student and writer.
While earning a master’s degree in English and creative writing, one of her projects focused on how bibliotherapy and writing therapy can help children, teens, and young adults cope with the death of a parent at a young age.
She has written numerous articles for local and national publications on the impact of a parent’s death on children and teens and in 2018 published a book called “Parental Death: The Ultimate Teen Guide”, based on her interviews with 90 people ranging in age from pre-teens to mid-80s.
It was the 56th book in the “It Happened to Me Ultimate Teen Guide” series published by Rowman & Littlefield and is still available on a variety of book selling websites.
This month, Shreeve is releasing a sequel to her book that is primarily aimed at teens who have lost a parent and the surviving parent trying to guide a teen through the trauma of losing a mother or father.
“Parental Death: The Ultimate Teen Guide,” also published by Rowman & Littlefield, offers a variety of ways teens can cope with the universal difficulties of losing a parent.
She also delves into the unique dynamics of specific losses – sons losing their fathers, daughters losing their mothers and vice versa – and how this affects an adolescent’s future development. This book also identifies how the challenges of living without a parent can affect a young adult at different stages of life.
Shreeve has been writing about parental loss and its impact since 2008 and has spoken not only with counselors and experts, but also with dozens of people young and old who lost a parent in childhood.
“I got creative with my own research along the way, researching writing therapy, bibliotherapy and film therapy, focusing on relatable fictional characters who have lost a parent,” he said. she declared. “I’ve compiled lists over the years of notable members of society who lost a relative at a young age, but still gave something extraordinary back to the world, such as Nobel Prize winners, athletes, scientists, actors, etc., to serve as a healing mechanism.
“This book, and the research and interviews I conducted for my first book, have all been a 30-year process for me. In both books, I shared what I learned along the way. road to try to help others through this difficult situation.
Shreeve felt a certain urgency to write a book focusing on the unique impact of a parent’s death on a teenager.
“When a parent dies before their child turns 20, they are still very dependent on them in many ways – emotionally, financially, physically and more,” she explained. “So many changes take place and life right after they die can be really overwhelming, confusing, so many emotions happen and they suddenly feel empty without their parent. This book would be the perfect reference book for a child, teenager or a young adult who has just lost a parent, or a book for adults looking to support grieving children.
A major undercurrent to her book is provided by real-life experiences that people of all ages have shared with her.
For the first book, Shreeve spread the word on social media and through various local publications she searched for people who had lost a parent as a child and she was bombarded with over 90 letters from people of all ages.
She did it again for her new book, but didn’t collect as many, although she added, “Luckily I was able to interview 13 brave participants.”
“The pandemic caused me problems writing this book,” Shreeve said, explaining, “I was having trouble finding participants willing to share their story. They had minimal participant stories they wanted. that I include throughout the book, and I had a hard time getting teenagers to engage.
“I pretty much wrote this second book in the middle of a pandemic and a recession which was no easy task,” said. “However, sadly, over 200,000 children have lost their parents to COVID-19 alone, so I feel like the timing of this book’s release was meant to be, as it can serve as a helpful resource for all these new kids without grieving parents.”
Shreeve explained, “Many of the teenagers I interviewed for this book found it difficult to participate, not only because they’re so young and had to deal with a lot just in terms of death of their single parent, but also because of the home school transition caused by the closure of schools due to the pandemic.
Her subjects for the interviews for the new book ranged from ages 15 to 65 and she describes them as “brave” because “it’s not easy to share your story, especially when you’re young and the loss is so new.
“I was there in that position once myself and completely understood it.”
One of her most memorable interviews was with a young teenager who lost one parent when she was writing her first book and the other when she was preparing the new one.
“My heart broke for this entrant because the entrant is still a young teenager and has already experienced two tragic parental losses,” Shreeve said.
Now that the new book is ready to hit shelves, she said, “I’m so grateful to the participants who have come forward, because if they hadn’t, this book, along with my first, would not would not have been made to try and help others.
… She said her book “may also be a helpful resource for grieving families, teachers, school administrators, counselors, organizations and other supportive adults looking to help guide and support young people trying to come to terms with the death of their parent”.
“My hope for this book is that no child, adolescent, young adult, or grieving family will think they are alone in navigating this tragic situation,” Shreeve said, “and that every reader can walk away with the impression that there is at least one person on the planet who can relate to what they are going through and that some of my research and individual chapters can provide positive insight into their loss to guide them towards a positive future.
“I hope readers will appreciate the bravery of my 13 participants in sharing their personal story of their relative’s death when they were young, which can also provide many unique insights that hopefully will help readers as well. “