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Sweet Serenity: What I Know For Sure

Sweet Serenity: What I Know For Sure

By C.S. Lockley


Almost a decade ago, my little niece passed away unexpectedly.  Her death caught me off-guard in a big way and isn’t something that I’ll ever forget.  I think it’s natural to ask all of the “Why her?” “Why, God?” questions when something like that happens.  What I didn’t know was that the grieving process doesn’t end with the burial.  What I also didn’t realize is that as difficult a concept as it was for me to grasp, it would be even harder for her little 3-year old cousin to understand.  “When will she wake up?” “Can we play later when she wakes up?” “Well, if she’s with Jesus, where is that?”


There were lots of questions, one of which sparked the title of my children’s book.  With this book I tried to paint a picture of a beautiful place where people and puppies, fish and deer go to live once they’re no longer with us.  During my grieving process, writing this book became my therapy.    


I’m no therapist, so I don’t claim to offer counseling of any sort.  And I also don’t claim to have all of the answers as to how one should heal from the loss of a loved one.  But there ARE a few things that I know for sure, so here goes:


Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identifies 5 stages of grief as Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.  I know for sure that of the five stages of grief, you may not experience them in any particular order, but you will definitely experience them all… and sometimes more than once over the course of your grieving period. I know that this is ok.


I know for sure that sometimes on your best day, you may be overcome by a memory that completely floods you with your sense of loss.  I also know that the wave will pass, and you will be ok.


I know for sure that as difficult as it is for you, as an adult, to grapple with a huge loss, it’s equally confusing and upsetting for the children who have been affected by the loss. 


I know for sure that children have tons of questions that a grieving adult is likely to overlook while being consumed with his or her own grief.  If you aren’t emotionally capable of explaining the Circle of Life to the child and sharing in the child’s experience, confusion and fear may set in.  There are several books in addition to my own that can help you navigate this process.


Finally, I know for sure that you have to, at some point, make peace with the situation.  In dealing with grief in my personal life, I meditate on the Serenity Prayer: “God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”  It helps calm my spirit.  It helps my anxiety and sadness subside.  It helps me sleep at night.  It helps me make it to the other side of grief, this I know for sure. 

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About the Author

C.S. Lockley penned Maggie Tales, her  first  children’s  book,  after losing a young child close to her. While struggling to understand the unexpected death of her loved one, she noticed that the child’s  cousin was struggling to understand the entire concept of death. Designed to be a comforting conversation starter for children ages four through ten, "Maggie Tales: Mommy, Where’s  Heaven?" will give parents, teachers, counselors, and adults a platform by which to engage in this difficult conversation. Lockley is a graduate of Spelman College and Emory University, both located in Atlanta, GA. To connect with Maggie Tales, please visit or follow us on Twitter @MaggieTales and

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