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The Heart And The Bottle


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Someone gave me a childrens book today on grief/loss. It tells the most simple yet profound story and I wanted to share it with each of you.

It's called "The Heart and the Bottle" by  Oliver Jeffers.

Once there was a girl,much like any other,whose head was filled with all the curiosities of the world.

With thoughts of the stars. With wonder at the sea. She took delight in finding new things....until the day she found an empty chair.

Feeling unsure,the girl thought the best thing was to put her heart in a safe place. Just for the time being.

So,she put it in a bottle and hung it around her neck.....and that seemed to fix things, at first.

Although in truth,nothing was the same. She forgot about the stars and stopped taking notice of the sea. She was no longer filled with all the curiosities of the world and didn't take much notice of anything other than how heavy and awkward the bottle had become. But at least her heart was safe.

It might never have occured to the girl what to do had she not met someone smaller and still curious about the world. There was a time when the girl would have known how to answer her. But not now. Not without her heart. And it was at that moment she decided to get it back out of the bottle.

But she didn't know how. She couldn't remember. And nothing seemed to work. The bottle couldn't be broken. It just bounced and rolled right down to the sea. But there,it occured to someone smaller and still curious about the world that she might know a way.

And it just so happened......she did.

The heart was put back where it came from.

And the chair wasn't so empty anymore. But the bottle was.

That girl is me for sure and my heart is definitely tucked away safely these days,it's the only way I get through.

Maybe someday I/we will meet that "smaller person" and tell our story here,but for now I know my heart needs protecting and I know it's ok.

I hope you liked this story. It's the second childrens book I've been given on grief and honestly have found them both so much better than any of the other books I've read. Maybe it's the simplicity and the fact that these books never ever tell you want you should do,try,need like some of the ones I've read, the message is so much more subtle without pressure or expectations and a lost child is exactly what I feel like.

Love and peace to each of you,



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Niamh, dear, I'm so glad you posted this. As it happens, I am in love with children's books and have been collecting them for years ~ most especially the ones that deal with loss. Children's books are very, very comforting, and they have a marvelous way of taking some very difficult and complicated information and presenting it in ways that even I can understand :blush:

I've listed many of my personal favorites here: Books for Children and Those Who Love Them.

I'm not familiar with the one you've described, but it sounds quite wonderful, and I intend to find it.

Have you ever read The Invisible String?

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I'm definitely going to check out some of those. I love children books. Stories are presented in simple ways, and many times we should not think like adults but view things the way children do. It marvels me to see how children are innocent and how they perceive life. Many things should be looked at with the heart of a child....

Thanks for the info Marty.


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