My new novel, What’s Left, opens with her being taken out of her classroom and being told of the death of her father. Well, there’s still a thread of hope, since his body had not been recovered from the avalanche. But the finality weighs in.
What’s an 11-year-old to make of this? She’s been raised in two traditions, each one differing from the mainstream around her.
It’s not the only death in the novel. There’s the tragic collision that kills her grandparents and creates the opening for her father to marry into the family – they no doubt would have thwarted that development. And there are the other ancestors gone by the time Cassia appears on the scene, as well as two uncles who die when she’s too young to understand. But the questions remain.
Some of my favorite answers arise in the 14th chapter. But please remember: no fair peeking ahead.
The subject of death is difficult enough for adults. For children it’s all the more baffling, once they push past the notion of sleeping but not waking.
What’s the earliest funeral you remember? What were you told? What would you say to others?