The Snowman - Visitor's Story to Explain Death to Young Children

by Mary Sweeney

The Snowman is a story I wrote to explain death to young children.

When my dad and twin died, I could see that young children's feelings are often ignored and they are fobbed off (not intentionally) as families are grieving. I wanted to write a story for them to explain and open discussion with them.

The Snowman

I drifted from the heaven, dancing and twirling, sparkling and twinkling in the light of the moon: lighting up the ebony sky and falling softly to the blanket of white that covered the ground below. In the distance I could see the faces of the children pressed tightly against the window of a house adorned with Christmas lights. Inside the children who in the morning would become my creators, looked out into the darkness, delighted with the first fall of snow.

They were barely able to contain their excitement as they watched the snow grow deeper and deeper until not a bit of the earth below was to be seen. The garden had been transformed into a child's wonderland and in the morning they would let their imaginations run wild as they played together in the snow.

Morning came and I watched the door of the house open as the children dressed in brightly colored hats, scarves, gloves and coats rushed out to greet the day. They played for a while making snowballs and throwing them at each other, making angels in the snow, laughing, joking and embracing the cold winter day for all it was worth. It was time. One child with cheeks as red as roses and eyes that shone with innocence and wonder shouted to the others, "Let's build a snowman!"

At last my life on earth was about to begin.

The children gathered me up in their arms. They staggered and fell in the snow and dropped most of my flakes as they tried to get some sort of shape on me, but with the absolute determination and an unwillingness to give up that only the very young seem to possess I was slowly turning into a nice round ball of snow. They pushed and they rolled, they patted and smoothed and finally they lifted me one perfect ball on top of another until I was finished.

They all stood back to admire their work and discuss what else was needed. It was decided that I must have a hat to keep the cold off my head and a nose; a nose was very important apparently if I was going to be able to breath, and eyes so I could see what was going on around me and oh yes a mouth, in case I had anything to say.

The children went back into the house and then returned with all my adornments. Soon I was standing proud. The best dressed snowman in the neighborhood, with beautiful black button eyes, a long carrot nose, a mouth made of red liquorish, a shiny black hat and a red and white scarf.I was in business.

The days passed quickly. Every day the children would play, dancing and singing all around me as I looked on. Every so often they would put on a little more snow in case I started to melt. They would adjust my hat and fix my scarf. Of course I knew that eventually the day would come when no more could be done to keep me, but just for now I was the happiest snowman in the world.

The day arrived: I looked at the sad faces of the children as the sun beamed down on me, for I knew and they knew that my time had come; I could stay on this earth no longer. If only my liquorish mouth could have spoken I would have said to them, "Please don't be sad, this is just as Mother Nature intended. I have done my job, making you happy and bringing you joy in the cold winter months, and you have given me all the love in your hearts and loved and cared for me. Now it's time for me to go, to melt back into the ground which in a short time will become a carpet of green for you to play on, where flowers will spring up and fill the air with their sweet aroma and you will play in a different way. You will remember me for a long time to come; perhaps you will even talk about me in the future as you build a snowman with children of your own. For you know when we keep someone's spirit alive in our hearts and remember them with love they never really go away."

The children waved goodbye to me from the window where I had first seen their eager little faces. They watched until there was no more of me to see. I hoped they didn't see this as an end. There really are no endings, only new beginnings full of new and exciting things to do and see.