Here are a couple cat toys I made last June. I made a companion cube out of felt and embroidery thread. The nice thing about the companion cube is that it’s large enough that it doesn’t get lost under the couch, like so many of the cat toys. It still gets lost, but it also turns up every once in a while.
It’s filled with pillow stuffing (fluffy stuff bought from JoAnn’s), empty candy wrapping (for the crinkly noise), and catnip.
I also made a dorky little mouse from some fabric scraps, with the same filling.
And now for the cute pictures of baby Gnome playing with the companion cube. 🙂
I think you are spot-on with our society needs to talk about grief, I think people hide it too much and we don't talk about it enough, or give it enough attention in general. My mom was raised Orthodox Jewish and she is amazed at how poorly "Gentiles" treat grief.
In Judaism, the week following burial, the immediate family "sits shiva" (shiva means 7), for seven days they are "mourners," they gather in one home (usually the deceased person's) and receive visitors. They wear an outer garment that they have torn on the left side (sometimes "over the heart" to represent their grief). Sometimes they sit on the floor or low stools to represent being "brought low by grief". They cover mirrors and don't have to worry about looking nice or showering or "pretending" to "be happy." They just spend a week grieving, and friends feed them and clean for them and care for any small children (under 13), animals, or elderly people. They do not go to work or school or other commitments.
On the 7th day, after a small service, friends and community members walk them around the block in a symbolic "returning to the community" ritual. However, they are excused for the next three weeks from attending any parties, celebrations, major religious holidays, places where live music is played or basically other such activities in which the deceased person will be sorely missed.
So it is a major process full of comforting rituals, and children are taught how to grieve.
I have found that really "ethnic" families tend to have specific grief rituals as well, like big Irish Wakes, or Greek Orthodox people wear black for forty days during which they do not participate in social gatherings or parties.
When I worked at Borders, I read several different books in the Bereavement section (I shelved books all over the store and frequently read titles that caught my attention in one day). And there is a really cute book for kids called "Sad isn't Bad" (It is an "Elf Help Book") that while assuming the concept of life after death, is quite sensitive to differences in religious belief and practices.
Thanks, Shaleigh (gah, I know that's not at all how you spell your name, but I can't remember…). Michael McCay told me a lot about the Jewish grieving process, and it makes total sense to me. I was useless that first week, and not much better for a good long while afterwards. I'm still not up to full productivity, 10 months later (to the day today :(). I'm glad I've had so many people helping me through this.