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Elaine Ingalls Hogg

Radio Clips
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The following are clips from three radio interviews:

CBC Interview 12:54 December 1 2000 Maritime Noon

Dealing with grief is something that almost everyone does sooner or later. Yesterday on the phone-in we heard that many people do it alone. My guest, Bereavement counsellor, Dr. Jody Clark said that, "People in our society are not encouraged to express their grief." But an author in Cape Breton Island is trying to change that. Earlier this year Elaine Hogg released a children's book she wrote, Remembering Honey. Since then she has been visiting schools and using the book as a catalyst to get children talking about death and remembrance.
When you go into the schools and you read Remembering Honey to the kids or they read it themselves, what kind of reactions are you getting?

The reactions of the children have ranged anywhere from some of them having concern for me because they've read the story and they want to make sure that I'm okay after losing such a special pet. And then many of them have been telling me about their pets but not just pets this is what's the interesting part and what I really hoped for in writing the book. They are telling me about their loved ones that have died, family members or friends. Some have opened up and told me some very deep stories. One that comes to my mind was told to me by a little boy who lost his best friend, they were walking along the road together and the child on the outside was killed by a car and the little boy told me how he still remembers his friend in his dreams. Others have talked about their grandparents and other family members as well as their pets.

Well, based on the story is there anything in that you can use to talk with children about ways they can deal with their grief or loss of a loved one?

Yes, I've encouraged the children to establish what I'll call the three r's. That they remember their loved one or pet and they remember that people are there to help them with their sadness. Also if they could write or if they are too young to write, they could draw a picture and then perhaps with the help of their parents or an adult, a small ritual. In the story they used roses but it could be balloons, or a message in a bottle, plant a tree or make a scrapbook or a memory box. In one case I suggested a memory box and I had a child bring me a memory box that was very touching. She was only in grade one.

Really, what was in the memory box?

She had actually put in some fish food and some fish filters for the two gold fish that had died and a special picture of her grandparent who had died recently and her grandparent's pet. She also wrote a poem, remember she's only about six years old, and she said, "in the future, I'll be the only one in my family." This gave me, this and another child talking to me about a pet that had been shot, makes me know there is a real need for a vehicle for children to talk about their hurts.

Elaine Hogg is the author of Remembering Honey. Last week it won the Marianna Dempster Award from the Canadian Author's Association.

CBC Sydney Interview June 15, 2000 Info Morning - Ian Mac Neil, Host.

When did you get the inspiration to write this book?

Actually, it was almost exactly two years ago I was helping with a Palliative Care workshop for new volunteers and sharing a few thoughts on communications - communicating with our terminally ill patients and their families and I told a little love story that was shared between two others who were concerned about leaving their legacy to their children. That prompted me to write a love story to my grandchildren and I shared it with the Palliative Care group. One of the ladies said, "Oh, we need stories for children, we need something that they can relate to. You should write one."

What is the Remembering Honey Story about then?
It's the story of the love and companionship of the puppy with the two children, Brandon and Bhriegh (Breea) and the whole family. After several years the puppy, (She's called a puppy because she was so small that she always fit in a pocket of a shoe box.), the little dog gets sick and the vet has to say, similar to having a terminal illness, that she can't make Honey better but she can make her comfortable. The children elect to take her home and take care of her but they go through the experiences of feeling sad and angry and even mean. The boy, Brandon, kicks cans in the back yard and even pounds nails to let out his frustrations. The children anticipate their loss and talk about how much she has meant to them and how they will feel when she is gone. That's the start of the story anyway.

Who did you have in mind when you began writing it as far as readers go?

I was thinking of families and people who are losing a loved one and also, because I had lost my pet, I knew that children in particular found it difficult to lose a pet, so I wanted people to have some way of just talking about the loss rather than just burying it. I wanted them to be able to talk about their feelings and also to experience the healing.

Now in order for the healing to begin and to continue, what issues do you look at in this story that may help us with that healing?

In this case the children devised a routine, or a ritual. The first day they took the roses and put them in the
box when she was buried and each year for several years they always returned and put new roses on the grave. Gradually they began to remember the things that had brought happiness to them, the bond of love that they had felt with the little dog and eventually the happy stories. It's a book of ritual and learning to cherish the things they can keep.

Interview on CBC April 19, 2000 Maritime Noon---
Tell us about Honey and about this book.
As a Palliative Care Volunteer for the last dozen years it has come to my attention that we skirt around certain words with children, especially the word death. It has been a journey of about a year and a half.

But many people who saw the original writings, began saying, "You've got to find a publisher." And the time I connected with a publisher was about the time of the Swiss Air disaster and people began looking for books to help them talk to their children about death, whether it be a pet, a dog, another child or a parent or loved one.

So you see a continuity in all these kinds of losses that a child may experience?

The death of a pet is usually, not always but usually, one of the first losses that a child experiences and if it is handled well, I think it can help them with things that may happen later on in life.

Now in the book, I see the vet tells the kids that Honey will die. Can you tell us some of the reactions that the children go through?

When I chose to do it that way it was based on my experience in Palliative Care where often a doctor or a
health provider would tell the person about the illness and what is expected ahead. Also I wanted the family to be involved by being there when the little pet dies. In the ideal death situation this is found to be most supportive.

So there is a message of hope there?

Yes, and continuity too. Your loved one goes into another phase but they are always there for you.

I guess you don't skirt the issue that children will react in very different ways from crying to being angry when they hear about their pet being sick.

When I was a child there was a little friend named Eva and when she reached the dying stage everything was hush, hush, hush, except for Eva's cry for help. That led me as an adult to want to help people and that led me to palliative care. As I actually worked with dying people this has led me to want to help people, especially children express their grief. But in so doing, I have had as many adults talk to me about the death of their husband or the death of a loved one. There seems to be a parallel that adults can take from the story.

April 27th interview with CJFX, Antigonish (Interviewer, Rhonda Hoare)

We are talking this morning with Elaine Ingalls Hogg, the author of a new book, "Remembering Honey". Is this your first book?

It's the first book done by a publisher. I self-published another book, "Grandma Loves You," about a year and a half ago and have almost sold out of those.

Anything you wish to tell us Elaine about this particular book, "Remembering Honey?"

I guess my biggest wish would be that somewhere, somehow it would help somebody in their bereavement or someone who is experiencing a loss to find healing by remembering, in the end after much time, not just necessarily in one year, but in the end, remembering the special things that made the person or the pet special to you.