CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — She’s a mother, an officer, and now a published author. University police officer, Valarie Marcott, turned to writing after death struck her family. The public’s response was more than she expected, but it showed just how needed her book is. It is a children’s book, but she says it can be for anyone who is learning to cope.
“There’s the standardized grief that you go through and there’s what really helps you personally through your own journey,” said Marcott.
Going through that journey is the premise behind Marcott’s children’s book, Bonnie and Her Butterfly. After dealing with an unexpected family death, Marcott saw that she wasn’t alone in her grief. She lost her mother and her children loss their grandmother.
“But how does a child take care of themselves when they don’t quite understand what they’re going through,” added Marcott.
Like in Marcott’s book, the youngest daughter, Bonnie and her grandmother were extremely close. Now, it was Bonnie experiencing a deep level of loss for the first time. Emotions the character also deals with in the book.
Writing was Marcott’s way of helping to calm the storm for her daughter, but it wasn’t having the same effect on her own emotions.
“I was like this is dredging up some things I thought I had dealt with it, right,” said Marcott.
She almost didn’t go through with the book’s release, but like in life, Marcott wanted to show that grief isn’t a one-way street with her daughter being the prime example.
“Each time we had a milestone, a birthday, a holiday, something that she was supposed to be at, she would kind of just relapse,” said Marcott.
Marcott said too often adults use band-aid like phrases on children dealing with grief, but her book takes a different approach. She tackles the permanence of death through a butterfly, a symbol that represents Marcott’s own grandmother.
“As she moves through her grief journey the butterfly starts visiting less frequently and kind of backs away and lets her know that she’s okay.”
Right now, Bonnie and her Butterfly is only available online.