Local author writes book to help grieving children

Local author Kristine Kirkpatrick holds a copy of her children’s book she recently gave to Fort Plain Free Library. (Photo submitted)

FORT PLAIN — In order to help her young grandchildren come to terms with the death of her father, Fort Plain resident Kristine Kirkpatrick penned a poem that took on a life of its own.

Titled “Where Did I Go?”, the illustrated picture book, published by Blurb, encouraged the children to look for him through their senses and in nature.

She recently gave the Fort Plain Free Library a signed copy of the hardcover, full-color book. It is “for all children who have suffered a loss,” she wrote inside the jacket, noting that she will also be presenting a copy of the book to an area funeral home, according to a library news release.

Kirkpatrick is a retired school nurse and wife of local attorney and Fort Plain Free Library trustee John Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick said that her father, Thomas O’Bryan, had lived in their home for nine years and his nine great-grandchildren “didn’t know anything else.”

One child in particular had a difficult time with her father’s death, she said. “[He] was crying every night. He’s a very tender-hearted boy. He had trouble falling asleep. His biggest question was where was [Poppa]? We didn’t know what to do,” Kirkpatrick said.

After reading Kirkpatrick’s poem, one of the couple’s three daughters suggested publishing it. The book’s pages were illustrated by each of her grandchildren, who received copies for Christmas 2017.

Now when they wonder where Poppa has gone, they draw comfort from their nana’s words: “I’m up here in heaven, I know it seems far. But with God in your heart, I’m wherever you are. So look at my picture. Sit in my chair. Close your eyes and remember me there.”

The library is located at 19 Willett St. Call (518) 993-4646 for information.