The Surprise Flower Garden

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This story is about a boy who plans to surprise hisgrandmother by planting a flower garden for her. The surprise ending is designed to help children see how another child deals with grieving his loss and open communication about their thoughts and feelings.


  • ABOUT THIS BOOKThis childrens book was written for grieving suicidesurvivors by a child and mother suicide survivor.Children have magical thinking, and the grief thatsuicide survivors experience can be intense, complex,and long term. Children are especially vulnerable tofeelings of guilt and abandonment.

    This story is about a boy who plans to surprise hisgrandmother by planting a flower garden for her. Thesurprise ending is designed to help children see howanother child deals with grieving his loss and opencommunication about their thoughts and feelings.

    There are a few pages at the end of this book thatencourages children to personalize the book byadding their names, their loved ones name andpicture, and their own drawings about their feelings,thoughts, and memories. (The pictures a child drawson these pages are designed to help a parent orcaring adult understand what the child is thinking orfeeling about their loved ones death.)

    Supplies Needed: The children will need coloredpencils or crayons to draw their pictures. If more thanone child will be drawing pictures, a parent or caringadult will need to either copy the pages or hand writethe topics on additional paper.

  • One sunny morning, Blake decided to surprise hisGrandmother Bunnies by planting a flower garden for her.After sharing his plan with his best friend, and dog Duke,he went to the garage to get his garden tools and make ashopping list. Right away he found his shovel, rake, andwatering bucket, but he could not find his garden gloves.

    Duke, Do you know where my garden gloves are?Dukes head dropped and he put his paws over his eyesand said, I am pretty sure I buried them in thebackyard.

    What? Duke! Why did you bury my gloves?Duke shrugged his shoulders and said, Im sorry. Theysmelled like a bone to me.Now I have to add gloves to my shopping list, thanks toyou. I appreciate your apology Duke, but actions haveconsequences, so I decided not to give you table scrapsfor two days as punishment for your actions!TWO DAYS! Thats harsh! said Duke.

    Taking things that dont belong to you is very serious!he said sternly. I really hope this punishment helps youlearn to make better decisions in the future! c Ill try to be better at making good decisions in thefuture. I really am sorry, replied Duke.

    I cant ask for more than that. Apology accepted.

  • Blake put on his backpack, and stuffed his shopping list inhis pocket. Hmmm, where is my bike helmet?

    Duke said, I know! I know! and ran past him to fetch it.

    Here you go, Duke said, and handed him the helmet.

    Thank you Duke. You are a good boy! he said, as heplaced it on his head.

    Blake rode down the street toward the store with Dukefollowing close behind. Duke spotted a puddle of water onthe ground so he stopped to look at it. The water wassmooth and clear, just like a mirror. He was thirsty, so heleaned towards the water, and saw his own face reflectedon the surface. He had never seen his reflection before sohe thought the dog looking up at him was another dog. Hestarted barking and growling at the water.

    Duke! What are you barking at boy?

    Duke replied, I see another dog in the water looking upat me!

    You silly boy! Blake laughed. That is your ownreflection!

    Oh, I knew that. I was just joking, Duke said, andbegan to drink the water.

    As Duke drank, he saw that the other dog haddisappeared and he felt relieved that Blake was right.

  • Blake and Duke were almost to the store, when theyheard a bird whistling Dixie. They stopped, lookedaround, and Blake spotted a bird in an old oak treelooking down at them.

    Thats amazing! he said, looking up at the bird. I ameight years old, and I barely know how to whistle! Wheredid you learn how to whistle like that?

    Its easy. I taught myself, replied the bird. All youhave to do is puff out your throat feathers, and blow.

    Throat feathers, he said, while placing his hands aroundhis throat. I dont have throat feathers.

    Well theres your problem, replied the bird.

    Can you teach me?

    I cannot teach you because you dont have throatfeathers, answered the bird.

    What about fur? Duke asked. I dont have throatfeathers, but I have throat fur. Can you teach me?

    No! shouted the bird, irritated that the boys keptasking. I cant teach you because you dont have throatfeathers! Now you two scat! I have to practice whistlingmy songs.

    Okay, Blake said respectfully. Well be on our way,and rode off toward the store.

  • Blake and Duke made it to the store safely, and as theywalked inside to get a shopping cart, they found a smallgold nugget on the ground.

    Wow! Have you seen one of these before? asked Blake.

    Not like that one! answered Duke.

    The boys put the gold nugget on a nearby table, and satdown to study it.

    Where do you think it came from? asked Blake.

    I think it came from Uncle Mikes gold panning bucket,said Duke.

    If it is from Uncle Mikes gold panning bucket, it sure isfar from home. It might be worth a lot of money. Whatshould we do with it?

    We should keep it! answered Duke.

    It might belong to someone.

    If it does belong to someone, they should have takenbetter care of it. We should just keep it! replied Duke.

    If it had been ours, and we lost it, we would want itback.

    We would. You're right. Let's drop it off at the Lost andFound Department, replied Duke.

  • After turning in the gold nugget, and finishing hisshopping; Blake placed all the items from the cart on thecheckout counter. After the cashier scanned his last item,and hit the total button, a loud alarm sounded.

    Congratulations! Youve just won a package of MAGICFLOWER SEEDS! said the cashier.

    What is a magic flower seed? asked Blake.

    It is a seed that magically creates the flower youpicture in your mind, minutes after you plant the seed inthe ground, explained the cashier.

    Wow! Thats awesome!

    Your flower garden will be as beautiful as you imagine itto be, said the cashier.

    I cant wait to plant these seeds! I have the bestimagination out of everybody I know, Blake said proudly.

    Thats great because the sky is the limit! said thecashier.

    The sky is the limit, repeated Blake.

    The wheels started turning in his mind, and he had visionsof big, beautiful, colorful, flowers growing all over in thebackyard. He put all the seeds, and his new gloves, insidehis backpack, and ran out the door. He got on his bike,and was anxious to get home.

  • He rode toward home, when all of a sudden, his friendGracie jumped out in front of him and scared him. Heslammed on his brakes to avoid hitting her, and fell over.

    What did you do that for? he shouted.

    Gracie laughed and said, Hi Blake. Hi Duke. Why arentyou boys at the park watching Checkers and Mohawk,compete in the karaoke competition?

    I forgot that was today! answered Blake. Besides, wehave something really important to do today.

    Everyones there, said Gracie. And what could be moreimportant than supporting your friends?

    Its a surprise, he said, not wanting to tell her. Andwhos everyone?

    Well, let me think, said Gracie, tapping her finger onher chin and then she blurted out, Okay, I will probablysing a song. Checkers and Mohawk are for sure singing asong. Mark and Bunnies are there, and Mark is thinkingabout singing your favorite song Wam ba lam. Mike,Devon and Matt are there, and Kristin, Sara and Carrieare with them, doing their best to keep them out oftrouble.

    Oh boy! The song is called Black Betty Gracie.

    Okay! Mark will probably sing your favorite song BlackBetty Blake, said Gracie.

  • I really need to go, said Blake. Plus, Ive heard all ofyou sing before and Im sure that my Grandma Bunnieswill videotape it anyway.

    You dont know if your Grandma Bunnies has her videocamera with her or not, said Gracie.

    Oh, Id bet money on it. My Grandma carries that videocamera with her everywhere she goes. She even videotapes me eating my dinner, said Blake, as he got on hisbike and started riding toward home.

    Youre going to be sorry you missed it! shouted Gracie.

    You may be right Gracie, but I really cant stay, heshouted back at her, and continued riding further andfurther away form her, until he couldnt see her anymore.

    He peddled his bike as fast as he could. All the way homehe imagined flowers growing in the garden.

    The sky is the limit. The sky is the limit, he repeated inhis mind over and over until he made it home. He droppedhis bike and ran through the house, and out to thebackyard.

    Uncle Christopher, Aunt Michelle! What are you twodoing here? he asked, surprised to see them.

    We were on our way to the park to watch Checkers andMohawk sing, and decided to stop by to ask you if youwanted to go with us? answered Christopher.

  • I would love to go watch with you, but I already madeplans to surprise Grandma Bunnies, by planting a flowergarden for her. I bought flower seeds and I won magicflower seeds.

    Magic flower seeds? asked Michelle.

    Yes, Magic! The cashier told me that all I have to do ispicture in my mind what I want the flower to look likewhen I put the seed in the ground, and minutes later theflower that I saw in my mind will grow! he said, burstingwith excitement.

    This Ive got to see! said Christopher, doubtful thatsuch a seed existed.

    We would love to stay and help you! said Michelle.

    Thank you! I could really use your help, he said anxiousto get started. Im running out of time.

    Michelle said, We should draw a picture of what youwant the flower garden to look like before we startplanting the seeds. It is always a good idea to plan yourwork and work your plan.

    Yes, Michelle is correct. You should always measuretwice and cut once, said Christopher, supportingMichelle. Thats wood shop talk little buddy, and I reallydont know why I felt it necessary to tell you that, but itis good advice none the less. So lets get this show on theroad. Weve got a picture to draw.

  • Blake laughed and said, Michelle will you draw thepicture? I like the way you color.

    I love to draw and color. Ill go get the colored pencilsand some paper, she said, excited that he asked.

    When she returned, they sat down at the patio table anddrew Blakes vision of a beautiful flower garden. Beforethey knew it, the drawing was complete and the pagewas full of beautiful flowers in every color, shape, andsize. It was the most beautiful flower garden any ofthem had ever seen before.

    Lets get started! Were burning daylight! Blake said,anxious to get working on the garden.

    Christopher dug the holes, making sure to follow thepattern in the drawing. Blake followed Christopher,making sure to picture in his mind what his vision was forevery seed. Michelle followed Blake, making sure thateach seed got covered with soil, watered, and stayedwere Blake planted it.

    All of a sudden a yellow flower sprung up, and grew ashigh as the door. Soon after a pink flower sprung up andgrew. As soon as the pink flower stopped growing, a blueflower sprung up, and then a red flower, and a purpleflower. Within minutes, the backyard looked exactly likeBlakes vision in the drawing.

    Suddenly a large picnic table appeared right in the middleof the flower garden set with china, food and drinks.

  • Blake got the biggest smile on his face because herealized that his plan to surprise Christopher andMichelle was happening right before their eyes. He alsoknew the best was yet to happen.

    Family members started magically appearing one by one.Christopher and Michelle stood frozen, amazed by themagic that was happening right before their eyes.

    His grandparents appeared first.

    Christopher looked at him and said, Blake, whatshappening?

    He just stood with the biggest smile on his face, knowingthat the best was yet to come.

    His great grandparents appeared next.

    Michelle grabbed Blakes hand and said, Blake what didyou do?

    Family members just kept magically appearing in waves,greeting each other with big hugs and kisses. His visionwas almost complete.

    Grandma Bunnies, Mark, Mike and Sara magicallyappeared, and everyone stopped visiting with each otherand turned to watch their reaction. Grandma Bunniesappeared to be shocked as she stood with her hands overher mouth, and tears streaming down her face.

  • Everyone stood and watched her in silence, as she lookedaround at her family and all the beautiful flowers. Blakeran to hug her. He threw his arms around her, and asked,What do you think? Do you like it?

    Oh my goodness Blake! I love all the beautiful flowers!How did this happen? Where did everyone come from? Howdid you do this without me knowing? she asked.

    A familiar voice came down from the sky and interruptedher saying, Whoa! One question at a time Mom!

    Mommy! Mommy! I knew youd come! Blake cried as heran holding his arms up to the sky, trying to touch her.

    It was Melissa, Blakes mom who had died a short timeago. She wore a gown of pure white that shimmeredwhenever she moved. Her wings magically reflected lightthrough their feathery texture. Her smile gave her familythe feeling of heavenly peace, and she did not speak thewords, but they heard her say, Blake, I am always withyou. You have, and always will be, my little baby love. Iam with you in the darkness when youre in bed andcannot sleep. I am with you throughout the day,whispering in your ear and reminding you that Gods lovefor us is never ending. The light that shines from withinyou, is very bright because of all the love and joy youvebeen given. Dont ever forget that Blake.

    He felt a sense of peace come over him and he stoppedcrying. I thought it was my fault that you died. I getsad because I didnt want you to die and I miss you!

  • Melissas wings fluttered and everyone heard the voiceagain, My death wasnt your fault baby love. Peoplecant die because of anything other people think or say. Ilove you with my whole heart now and always. I knowthat you miss me, and you may not see me with youreyes, but I am always with you in your heart. When youstart to feel sad, and you feel like someone, or somethingis tugging on your heartstrings, its God letting you knowthat you are not alone. He loves you with His wholeheart... His whole heart His whole heart repeated thevoice as it faded away slowly.

    Grandma Bunnies entered Blakes room singing, Rise andshine, rise and shine, sleepy head. Come on you sleepyhead. Its time to wake up and get ready for school.

    Bunnies! Bunnies! shouted Blake, as he jumped out ofbed. You are not going to believe the dream I just had!

  • This Book Belongs To

    ________________________________(name of child or children)

    In Loving Memory Of

    ________________________________(name of loved one )

    Picture of your loved one.

  • It is okay to use words to let others know that you aresad and need to be comforted. (draw how you like to becomforted and then close your eyes and imagine it)

  • Good memories are yours to keep! (draw your favorite memory ofyou and your loved one)

  • It is okay to be happy and have fun after a loved one dies!(draw what you like to do that makes you happy and have fun)

  • You learned something important from your loved one. (drawa picture of something you learned from your loved one)

  • How do you show others that you care about them? (draw apicture of what you do to let other...