“The Sky Goes On Forever”, a book about death for children

This is the book that I wanted to share with you. It is an excellent book to teach children about death.

In the past I have met parents who tell me that they don’t dare get pets for their children because “pets will die”. Well yes, the chance of us outliving our pets is high and so children might have to face the death of their pets. But don’t they also have to face the death of their human relatives and one day, children would have to learn about death.

This book has a very interesting history, though. It has been with me for more than 30 years.

When I was in my late twenties to early thirties, I was having unexplained seizures. It was happening too often so I saw a neurologist who ordered a brain CT-scan. The scan showed a large “something” at the pons in my brain. From the size of that “thing”, if it had been a tumour, I would not have been able to walk in a straight line, but I still could, with no problems at all.

The neurologist said it was likely that the image was an artifact, which I was told could be the shadow of the skull bones. But to be sure, he recommended an MRI. But during that time, MRIs were not readily available as it is now. There was only one private hospital in KL which had the MRI machine and it was incredibly expensive. The other option was to wait for my turn at the government hospital.

We took the film of the CT-scan and consulted another doctor and she said that if indeed there was a tumour that size at my pons, it wasn’t operatable and I remember her exact words: Just pray. In other words, I was just going to die.

At that time, I had just resigned from my government teaching job to look after my children fulltime. My husband was only a pilot in the RMAF and they didn’t pay well either (now they do, but they didn’t at the time). I decided not to have the MRI done at the private hospital in KL. Since nothing could be done if it were a tumour, why waste the money?

So I applied for the MRI at the government hospital and waited for my turn. It would take months before my turn came. At that time, the children were only 4 and 6 years old or round about there.

I remember mentioning it vaguely to my parents.

And shortly after that, my father, who was a man of very, very few words, bought this book for my children, They Sky Goes on Forever. And he also did another thing. He brought the video of the cartoon, The Land Before Time. If you remember the show, it was about Little Foot, the baby dinosaur who had lost his mother and was eventually looked after by his grandparents.

I remember watching the show with my children and my father at our family hall upstairs in our house. I felt really sad, but such is life.

There was a possibility that something was there in my brain which resulted in those seizures. Only a minute possibility since I could still walk in a straight line, but still a possibility. I made sure my will was already written.

And there was the book, They Sky Goes on Forever. I read that to my children, but not often. Reading it made me sad.

The MRI appointment finally came from the government hospital, after a wait of 4 months. Yes, I was still alive. So it was done and the results came back…


My brain was normal. Nothing was wrong.

So it was an artifact, after all.

I still continued having occasional seizures, but the last one was many years ago.

So when Jia-Wen said they were bringing the boys over this morning to pay respects to Hiro, I thought about this book and dug it out of my cupboard.

It brings back memories.

One day, we will have to teach children about death because everybody dies. Pets and humans, even plants die. We have to prepare children for it too.

The Sky Goes on Forever has no religious elements in it. It is a secular book. It talks about living beings having a “spirit” which is one’s energy and to me, that is really very scientifically accurate too.

And it ends like this, “and when you feel this peaceful feeling you will know for sure that death is a friend of life”.

From stardust to stardust, until the next Big Bang.

1 comment to “The Sky Goes On Forever”, a book about death for children

  • Nanda

    Didn’t know until now that you had a health scare when younger. Glad all’s well. Yes, sharing about life & death with children is a wonderful deed.