By Marianne Matzo, PhD, FAAN and Darlene Domanik
Everyone Dies (and Yes, It is Normal) is a story about a young boy named Jax who finds something special on the beach where he and his grandpa Pops are enjoying a wonderful day. Pops helps Jax understand that death is a normal part of life.
This book provides an age appropriate, non-scary, comfortable way to introduce the important topic of mortality to a preschool child. Its simple explanation will last a lifetime.
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About the Book
Marianne Matzo, PhD, FAAN
If you have children in your lives, they may have asked you about dying and death. Your first thought may have been, “Wouldn’t you rather know where babies come from?” because that could be a much easier conversation.
Understanding that everyone dies—and why—is a gift we can give the children in our lives so they learn that death is normal. In the past, children saw birth and death on an almost daily basis because they lived in close proximity to these events. That is no longer the case. I have a friend who just turned 70 and both of his parents are still alive; it wasn’t until his mid-sixties when he experienced the death of a loved one.
Just as everyone is born, everyone dies. Dying is a normal part of life, and we will witness it before our own deaths. Normalizing death, as is done in this story, helps to lessen the fear of mortality. This book can help a child develop a simple and true understanding of dying and death.
When I was about five years old, I was taken from home and shuffled between neighbors and family for over a year. I overheard adults say that my mother was dying and I found that idea frightening and confusing. No one explained what was happening—probably because they just didn’t know how.
I hope this book gives parents the words they need to open this discussion, and to help their children understand this “fact of life.” They will be better prepared to cope when the inevitable occurs.
(Ironically, Mom recovered and lived until age 86.)
This book is dedicated to the crab whose untimely death inspired this book, and to Jax, who asked the question.
About the Authors
Marianne Matzo earned her PhD (1996) in Gerontology. As a certified nurse practitioner in oncology and palliative care, she dedicated her 44-year career in nursing to pain and symptom management for people living with incurable illnesses. A retired university professor, Marianne is now focusing on community education regarding dying and death. This book is the latest creative project on which Marianne and Darlene have collaborated during their 60-year friendship.
Darlene Domanik, JD (1982) is a retired environmental lawyer and childcare advocate. In retirement she owned/managed two childcare facilities serving approximately 500 children. A child at heart, she can entertain an entire room full of toddlers with nothing other than a blanket. She is presently a meditation teacher, artist, and community activist in her hometown of Brighton, Michigan.
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