During her nine years as a paramedic in Guelph-Wellington, Heather Eimers has seen her fair share of grief, dealt with a lot of negativity and experienced first-hand the heartache that comes when a father figure suddenly passes away.
During an overnight shift in December of 2020, Eimers received word that her step-father, who she said was the only father she knew, had suddenly passed away.
Sitting in a reclining chair in the dark with the only illumination coming from her phone, Eimers began to write down her feelings as a therapeutic way to process her emotions.
Without realizing it at the time, the words Eimers wrote down that night would form the basis for her children's book titled An Emotion Called Grief.
The book aims to tell a heartwarming story for children to better understand and cope with grief.
“I deal with death every day in my job. I've always been fairly impartial to it. That has always been something that is natural, it's supposed to happen," said Eimers. "I usually deal with death and then we'll go ahead and move on with my day when I'm at work."
Having received glowing reviews from her friends and family on the words she wrote that cold night in December, Eimers took the next step in publishing her work through Kindle Direct Publishing.
“It was a bit of a process we started probably mid-March, working on, going through the KDP process and learning how to like kind of format because I created the images, digitally on my iPad so I had to kind of reformat a lot of time quite a bit of time, a lot of late nights, just making sure that everything was, you know, appropriate and met their guidelines,” said Eimers
Having never illustrated before, Eimers turned to her 14-year-old daughter Parker Boudreau for help, and the mother-daughter duo created the illustrations for the book, which launched April 23.
“She created the front cover, which is what the front cover is now, we illustrated that and she helped teach me how to illustrate, and together we illustrated the entire book,” said Eimers. “It's very therapeutic for me and I spent a lot of time going back and forth and back and forth, thinking about what I wanted to see if I open that box and so I basically feel like I wrote the story that I wanted to read.”
The synopsis of the book is from the perspective of a young boy as he navigates the loss of his grandfather. Through the book, the young boy understands what the feeling of grief is and understands the deeper meanings of the emotion itself. He learns that our loved ones are always with us and that he will be able to find joy again through the love and memories he has.
Currently, An Emotion Called Grief has a five-star rating on Amazon with over a dozen positive reviews.
One reviewer on Amazon said: “The author has managed to put into words the complex, intermingled feeling of grief and love. Not only has she delivered the message perfectly, her empathy can be felt as she shares a piece of herself.”
“I think the biggest takeaway for me is that I've dealt with a lot of negativity in life with my job. I see death all the time and I'm always on the side that I don't have to be affected by it necessarily. I can go home and I can move on from it and then when the worst thing imaginable happened,” said Eimers. “I think I could have spiralled into a really bad place. And I didn't. And I realized quickly that I wanted to be able to use my experience and my feelings and emotions because emotions and the ability to share and communicate with others is so powerful.”