Why Did Daddy End His Life?
Why Did He Have to Die?
A Children’s Suicide Bereavement Book
About The Book
This book, which is written for children between the ages of five and twelve years, provides a resource that parents and caregivers can use to support and guide their children through the difficult process of suicide bereavement.
Explaining suicide is not a task that parents are usually prepared for. Parents and caregivers often feel lost and overwhelmed at the prospect of having to discuss suicide with their children.
Written from the perspective of a child, this illustrated story provides a fictional character for children to relate to. The story guides children through the difficult emotions they may feel, but often find difficult to express. It ends by reassuring children that they can survive the pain of their loss, even though it currently feels unbearable.
The parent or caregiver should read this book with their children. It provides parents with a means to explain suicide and suicide bereavement in a way that a child can understand, while also giving their children permission to talk openly about their loss.
The purpose of this book is to increase the sense of connection between parents/caregivers and children and to help children feel understood and supported.
In the supplementary parent’s guide, the author answers some of the common questions that arise for parents and caregivers, and covers specific examples of how they can respond to their child when discussing the suicide.
"Helping a child deal with grief is challenging for any adult. When the child’s loss is due to a loved one’s suicide, additional concerns are naturally present, and many questions are requiring consolation. Using Samantha Pekh’s book to enhance understanding, respond to questions and provide support will create the opportunity to find solace together.
As a Registered Psychologist and trauma trained clinician, Samantha’s knowledge of a child’s journey through suicide bereavement provides guidance to any adult who is caregiving a child through this tragedy. The story is designed to be gender neutral, and the child’s supporters are generic adults. This initial portion takes the reader through a child’s confusion, abandonment and sadness by sharing the typical questions that can be overwhelming. Written for sharing or independent reading, even a youth can benefit from this material.
The second section has been created for adults, however Samantha has carefully considered that a youth may also access this information to ease their distress. The layout allows the reader to search and use the material as needed with the question and answer style. Topics include the questions that parents typically ask, but these can be adapted for any loved one to use for their purpose. Samantha’s experience with suicide bereavement results in literature that offers reassurance, compassion and education.
For any family, youth worker, foster parent or professional who needs to support themselves and a child, please consider “Why Did Daddy End His Life: A Suicide Bereavement Book for Children and Parents.” Samantha Pekh confirms that her book provides ideas that can help to know the best approach for supporting a child and guiding them through their grief."
MSW, Registered Social Worker
"I think this book talks about a serious and much needed topic for children to get them through their grief and loss of someone close to them (especially a parent), dying by suicide. It is very much in language that children can understand and relate to. The book covers all the feelings children may experience working through their loss of a loved one and that they are natural, normal feelings to have and not something to be ashamed of.
This book also expresses to children that they are not the cause, or to blame for the person leaving them and that it is valid for them to fear the loss of someone else leaving them in the initial aftermath of the suicide/death of a loved one. I like that at the end of the story it validates the importance of reminding the child to be a kid and keep growing up and healing and to ask for help when they feel they need it."
RSW, Crisis Intervention Worker
"This book is an excellent resource for families dealing with the death of a loved one due to suicide. It is creatively illustrated and well written from a child’s perspective. The parent’s supplementary guide is a user friendly resource for parents dealing with this difficult situation and provides valuable ideas in how to best support their child."
M.A. CHT, Registered Psychologist, Certified Hakomi Therapist and Teacher
"This children story and parent guide helps families navigate the emotional chaos after a suicide loss. In a broader, societal context, this suicide bereavement book helps to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide by guiding families to communicate openly and appropriately about this very challenging topic. If you are a family who has experienced a suicide loss, or you are a professional supporting families after a suicide loss, this book is required reading."
M.A. Counselling, CCC
"This book is centered on a child who is grieving over the suicide of his father. The child not only needs to process this loss, but also the fact that his father chose to end his own life. The child starts asking questions about why his father ended his life. The book shows the different ways in which the child can process the loss and the various different emotions that they may encounter during this grieving process.
Samantha Pekh, a registered psychologist and specialist in mental health and grief therapy, has done an excellent job in this seemingly simple children’s book that touches on this difficult and complex topic. This book not only helps to encourage conversation but also touches on the importance of transparency so as to build trust and alleviate fear that can be so detrimental to young minds.
She also follows up the children’s story with a helpful explanation for the caregiver of how to approach this topic with the child. Her Q & A section really touches on the many questions that grieving family members may have about how to appropriately address children facing such a devastating and traumatic event.
This book gives permission to think, feel, speak and grieve openly not only for the child but also the caregiver. The style of rhythm and repetition in the story not only helps children to process the situation but serves as a reminder for everyone that “it is okay” to be sad, angry, and lonely, and that it is also acceptable to feel happy and to continue to enjoy life. This is important not only for the child, but also for the adult. This book utilizes a family systems therapy approach addressing the family unit as a single emotional entity and thus able to help families cope together and strengthen their relationships while also reducing trauma.
This book is very unique in its approach towards addressing death and suicide, particularly for young children. It would be useful for the caregiver but also to professionals as a tool to start conversations through storytelling and play that children can better understand. As there are very few resources in this area, I feel that this book would be an asset to families facing such grief and professionals that may also benefit from having such a tool at hand to supplement their counseling or therapy sessions."
MSW, Registered Social Worker
"Being a therapist who often supports families coping with a loss through suicide, I am very thankful that a resource such as this exists. Why did Daddy end his life? Why did he have to die? A Children’s Suicide Bereavement Book is a helpful aid to any child grieving a loved one’s death by suicide. Written from the perspective of the bereaved child, it helps the child reader to identify and start to work through his or her own thoughts and feelings surrounding the suicide loss, and most importantly the story connects them to strength and hope. The accompanying Parent Guide is a very informative and easy-to- follow resource for parents or caregivers who are unsure of how to support their grieving child. The guide goes over key concerns and answers the difficult questions that parents often ask themselves when supporting their child following a suicide. It gives me much comfort knowing that in my own work with families bereaved by suicide that I can offer them additional guidance and support through this book."
MSW, Registered Social Worker
"This book is concise, colourful and informative. The myriad of thoughts and emotions encompassing complicated grief for survivors and caregivers is engagingly and competently addressed."
"A sensitive and practical resource to shepherd parents and children through a dark valley of bewildering emotions and confusion."
MD, Psychotherapist, Author
"This book tackles some of the most difficult questions that a parent can EVER be faced with....including, "How do I tell my child that their Father/Mother has committed suicide?" Perhaps more importantly, though, it provides much information about helping kids to weather this extraordinary adversity. It can shine a light on how to see them through it....and having specialized in "resilience to extraordinary adversity" at the University of Alberta as well as providing psychotherapy to many many school-aged youths over the years, I was very glad to see this book."
Dr. Christopher W. Armstrong,
M.Ed., Ph.D., R.Psych
About The Author
Samantha Pekh, M.A., is a Registered Psychologist, a Certified Traumatologist, and an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practitioner. She is the director of PsychSolutions, Inc., a private clinic based in Edmonton, Alberta and she specializes in the areas of trauma, bipolar, and suicide prevention and bereavement.
As a trauma therapist, Samantha supports children, adults, and families through their losses and painful experiences, supporting them towards healing and being able reclaim their lives.
In the area of bipolar, she supports people diagnosed with bipolar and their loved ones learn how to effectively manage bipolar and stressors that contribute to worsened symptoms, to strengthen family relationships, and to build strong self-care and support plans.
In the area of suicide prevention and bereavement, she helps individuals who are at risk of suicide by guiding them back to mental wellness while also addressing the distress causing their suicidal thoughts. Often, this support involves chosen support people so that an effective support team can be put into place.
Her children's book was written to provide an additional resource for families and children who have lost someone to suicide. This book was informed and inspired by the experiences and deep wisdom of the people she has had the privilege to support during their loss journeys.