Podcast: Helping Children Grieve

When children know the deep pain of break or demise, it can be extremely healing to learn they are still connected to their loved ones by an invisible cord of ardour. That’s the assertion of the children’s book The Invisible String, written by Patrice Karst, today’s guest on the Psych Central podcast. Patrice sits down to talk with Gabe about what provoked her doctrine for writing this classic diary as well as her subsequent records, including The Invisible Leash, a narration to help boys deal with the loss of a pet. As Patrice keeps it, her bibles are about love and connection to each other, to our animals, and to the planet.

Join us to hear Patrice’s incredible writing outing and about the many lives who have been touched by her books on loss, bereavement and the eternal tie-in of love.

Subscribe& REVIEW Guest info for’ Patrice Karst- Children Grieving’ Podcast Episode

Patrice Karst is the bestselling author of The Invisible String, The Invisible Leash, The Invisible Web, the upcoming You Are Never Alone: An Invisible String Lullaby( in stores January 5, 2021 ), and the co-author of The Invisible String Workbook. She has also written The Smile that Went Around the World, God Made Easy, and The Single Mother’s Survival Guide. She is passionate about spreading her meaning of passion across the planet. Born in London, England, she now lives in southern California and is the mother of one grown son, Elijah.

About The Psych Central Podcast Host

Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer and talker who lives with bipolar disorder. He is the author of the popular diary, Mental Illness is an Asshole and other Statements, available from Amazon; ratified prints are also available directly from the author . To learn more about Gabe, please visit his website,

Computer Generated Transcript for’ Patrice Karst- Children Grieving’ Episode

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer produced and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar faults. Thank you.

Announcer: You’re listening to the Psych Central Podcast, where guest experts in the field of psychology and mental health share thought-provoking information using plain, daily usage. Here’s your emcee, Gabe Howard.

Gabe Howard: Welcome to this week’s chapter of the Psych Central Podcast. Calling into the show today, we have Patrice Karst, who is the best selling author of The Invisible String, The Invisible Leash, The Invisible Web and the upcoming You Are Never Alone: An Invisible String Lullaby. Patrice, welcome to the show.

Patrice Karst: Hi, Gabe. Thanks for having me.

Gabe Howard: Well, I’m very excited about this. It’s a children’s journal on some big concepts, right? And can you kind of explain what your bibles are about for our listeners?

Patrice Karst: Yeah, when I wrote the book, which was many years ago, I wrote it because my lad at the time, who was very young, I guess 5 or so, was in kindergarten and would be really sad when I was a single working mama. And when I bring him to academy, he would cry because he had separation anxiety really badly and didn’t want me to leave. And then I would cry and it was a mess. So I started telling him about the invisible fibre that connected us all day long. And it was like magic potion. The time he heard the narrative, the notions of this invisible string, that was it. His separation anxiety stopped. He was like, there really is an invisible fibre? And I said, Yeah. And then all of his friends wanted to hear it. And I knew I got something somewhat special. And that’s when I went to a publisher, wrote it as a narrative and got it produced. But I predict in the simplest expressions, my diaries are about love and our connections to one another, to our swine, to the planet. The invisible string is the string that connects us all. And it’s invisible, but awfully, very real. Love is a highly abstract abstraction. But the invisible cord is a very tangible idea. And I think that’s why girls just really, truly got it that, oh, this is what adore is. It’s an invisible string.

Gabe Howard: I have a imitate of your bible, and it’s beautiful. It was just rereleased and it has new art and this is a stunning book that I’m holding.

Patrice Karst: Thank you.

Gabe Howard: Can you describe what the book looks like?

Patrice Karst: It’s a children’s notebook, but part of what has been the amazing miracle about the book is that adults buy it for each other, spouses, adult children around their adult parents, beloved friends. You know, it’s sort of a children’s journal that spans all ages from 2 to 102. Personally, I considered that if we never read another adult book ever and merely predict children’s diaries, we’d probably learn everything we ever needed to really learn because you don’t need a lot of words. In actuality, I think sometimes the less terms the better to really understand things on a deeper level.

Gabe Howard: I enjoy that and I enjoy specifically what you said about adults working the book, and one of the things that you mentioned in our pre-interview was that adults all over the world are using this bible to help deal with grief. Can you expound on that a little bit?

Patrice Karst: Interestingly, when I wrote, it is most important to me that the concept that this invisible string that can reach all over the planet, that could transcend time and gap would also be able to go to our beloved ones that are no longer here on the earthly plane. And so I use the word heaven as that utterance. So in the entire book, there’s just one sheet and one word that confounds to permanent physical divergence. And the publisher was really reticent to have a page about death because, oh, it’s a kid’s bible and we don’t want to talk about death and use the word heaven. And my resurgence, because it was super important to me is that children are going to face death, whether it be their guinea pig, their hamster, goldfish, a grandparent. They hear about fatality on the word. You know, death is something that is part of life. And the sooner we can address that with our children, the very best. It shouldn’t be something that’s a taboo subject. So it was allowed. And I use the word heaven, because to me, that was just sort of a universal oath. I did not mean it to have any religious meaning because my books are from every religion there is every religion or nothing at all. And it’s just a soothing message. Interestingly, that one word on that one page in the book, because the book is not about grief. The journal is about love and connection and how we’re always connected no matter what. But because of that one page. It is increasingly becoming the number one book for children to deal with death and dying. And it has become a huge grief book used by bereavement formations all over the world and hospices and hospices. And you referred it, because what could be a truer statement and what could be a more comforting hypothesi than to realize that those that we affection that are no longer with us, that we still have an invisible fibre that reaches to them and that we can tug on it and they’ll feel it. And when we miss them, that’s them tugging us right back.

Gabe Howard: You do tackle death premier on in The Invisible Leash. Big difference there is the invisible fibre is between humans and the invisible rope is between a person and their pets. But another difference between those two volumes is that The Invisible Leash does talk explicitly about death.

Patrice Karst: Mm-hmm.

Gabe Howard: The deaths among a pet.

Patrice Karst: Yes. You know, I had gone so many symbols over the years from parties that said we’ve squandered the invisible cord to help our child deal with the death of their cat or their puppy. Have you ever considered writing a book that would be specifically about the loss of an animal? And that’s why I did it, because I thought it was important for there to be even a separate book instantly about animals. But yes, we deal with death head on. But we too deal with love chief on. The two main reputations are Emily and Zach, and Emily lost her cat and Zach lost his dog. And these two friends take a meandering walk through the neighborhood where they begin discussing their beloved swine. And in Zach’s case, how much agony Zach is still in. Although Emily has now dealt with her remorse and is now absolutely aware of the invisible rope that she has to her kitty “cat-o-nine-tail” who’s now in the largest beyond, and Zach wants to know, well, where is this great beyond? I don’t believe in any great beyond. And it’s beautiful because by the end of the story, Zach perfectly feels the connection he has to Joe-Joe his puppy in the largest beyond. And yes, we deal with death head on. But so much better of the book is about the exultation that Zach used to have with Joe-Joe when Joe-Joe was alive and how that connection still exists and that he can go on to get another dog and never lose his connection to Joe-Joe.

Patrice Karst: I think it’s a amiable narrative and I think it’s important because as I “ve said”, children will deal with death, peculiarly death of swine. I’ll never forget I was taking a hike with Eli, my son, when he was very young. And we came upon a dead chick on our hike on the way. And I thoughts, oh, my God, this is my moment. You know, this is it, I’m going to have to address death now and discuss this with him. And the fledgling had a lot of ants all around it. And Eli stopped and said, Mommy, it’s a dead fledgling. And I said, yes, it is. I said, but don’t you perturb, sugar. You know that the chick is with God now in heaven. And he goes, Well , no, actually, mom, the chick is with the ants. And it was it was like one of those minutes that, you know, it only kids are so literal. And it was funny. I signify, it was like, you know, I has, like, just stop and laugh and. Yes, yes, yes, you’re right. The chick is with the ants, right now. Well, but yeah, we do deal with death thought on. And I think it’s important to do that.

Gabe Howard: That is incredible. Thank you so much for dealing with here conceptions like regret and fatality heading on, because, whether you deal with it head on or not, it’s common. We cannot evade it. Like you said on a on a go, you ran into a dead fledgling. It’s also depicted in pop culture. You know, even Bambi, which is a G-rated Disney movie that came out in, what, the 40 s, Bambi’s mother passed on. So this is this is not a brand-new notion. Death is and has always been around us.

Patrice Karst: Mm-hmm.

Gabe Howard: And parents have always strove with how to address it.

Patrice Karst: Right. Right.

Gabe Howard: So thank you.

Patrice Karst: You’re welcome. My pleasure. It’s a sad subject, but when we realize that the invisible fibre or the invisible rope is real, it becomes a lot less sad.

Gabe Howard: Patrice, let’s say that a parent came to you and wants to see you how to help their child deal with grief and loss. What are some of the most important articles of advice that you could offer?

Patrice Karst: I would say the most important thing is to let the child talk and actually listen to them and encourage them to express all their feelings and the issues and fears and sorrows and to not try to tidy it up real nice and speedy. And then let’s move on to something happy now. And that’s what a lot of parents and adults try to do, because grief is cluttered. It’s unpleasant. And I think they’re afraid that if they invest too much go dealing with the grief, it’s going to prolong the child’s pain and discomfort when really the opposite is true. The more mourning and real they can be with their child and give the child the gap and the time, whatever that is, if the child needs to talk about it every day, you are well aware, for months on end, that’s OK. To genuinely tell the child be the leader, in other words, and to be real with their own rebuttals back. And feel free to show their own grief, appearance their own cries, show their own weeps. But then to take it to the next position, if they’re going to be using the invisible fibre as a springboard. I envisage the most important thing when it comes to grief and regenerating affliction is yes, to acknowledge that the physical leaving of that person or that animal is real and it’s distressing and it’s terrible and it’s sad and it’s worthy of weepings and it’s worthy of sobbings and it’s worthy of feeling an emptiness in the heart where that person used to be, you know, and their physical presence.

Patrice Karst: But then the healing comes from the realization that that person, that animal is not disconnected from us. That we do indeed still have a connection to that person. And it’s now an invisible connect in that we’re not going to see that person again, at least not in this lifetime. But we do still have a connection. And I think that that’s why the invisible cord is so healing. And that’s where the mother can really help their child is to help their child realize. Let’s make grandmother, for example. Grandma surpass away and “their childrens” is bereft because of this, that that child still has a connection to grandma. Grandma is still precisely a grip and a tugboat along the invisible cord away. And the adoration is forever. And as I “ve said”, it transcends season and infinite. And exactly because that person’s physical presence isn’t here does not mean that that person’s soul cannot feel their alliance along the string and we can feel them.

Gabe Howard: We’ll be right back after these messages.

Sponsor Message: Hey kinfolks, Gabe here. I host another podcast for Psych Central. It’s called Not Crazy. He hosts Not Crazy with me, Jackie Zimmerman, and it is all about navigating our lives with mental illness and mental health concerns. Listen now at Psych NotCrazy or on your favorite podcast player.

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Gabe Howard: We’re back discussing The Invisible String with writer Patrice Karst. One of the things that I was surprised about when I was doing research for the demo was I was like, wait, this book is 20 years old. I often get books that are in the pre producing stagecoach or that have come out in the past year. Almost nobody is is still able to put a record out 20 year later and have it still have so much relevance. And that sort of models the basis for my next question. What have you experience over the last 20 times from the beginnings of this bible to today? Has anything changed or is it accurately the same as it was 20 years ago? Did you have to update the book at all? Do the readers answer the same way?

Patrice Karst: Yeah. It’s been one of those true-life publishing miracles because there was never any announce for this book when I got it published. I went to a very small publisher who had never done a children’s work before. Very insignificant publisher , no distribution. And I was just grateful the book had been published. And I was onto other projects. And I didn’t, quite frankly, put too much energy into it. But I started getting beautiful symbols from books that was just telling me this journal had imparted huge consolation to them and their children. And, you are well aware, it sold, but not a huge number of simulates. And then about seven or eight years ago, there was a Sandy Hook parent , not a parent of a child that had guided, but a survivor who had written and said that the book had introduced immense solace to his daughter when so many of her classmates had been killed and thanked me for it. And that plainly attaches out in my sentiment. And it was right around that time that I noticed this phenomenon beginning with the book. And I don’t know what started it. It just seemed like it was a chain reaction. Divorce attorneys and infirmaries and sanatoriums and the military and the prison system and foster care adoption establishments, bereavement makings, professors, psychologists, therapists. The list goes on. All of a sudden the book was blowing up like, word of mouth. And one of those things every writer dreams of is having your notebook run viral, mostly. And I wanted to give the book New Life with a Big Publisher, because I knew that if all this could be happening, it wasn’t even in the major chains. I necessitate, it really it was

Gabe Howard: Wow.

Patrice Karst: You know, there was no distribution. And I required brand-new skill, freshening, beautiful new prowes. And by the grace of God and kismet and miracles, Little, Brown Books for Young Reader came viewed of the book and they fell in love with it. And not only did they fall in love with it, but by this time I had written with my coauthor, Dr. Dana Wyss, PhD, we had created the Invisible String Workbook that runs together with the invisible fibre and makes the book to all new ranks with imaginative undertakings for kids to use for the book and the invisible leash and the invisible network. And they are only bought them all. And they released the paperback last year in October with spectacular new artistry by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, my wonderful illustrator for all the invisible brand works. And so they articulated the book out and it’s just pilot. It’s taken off. People love the brand-new prowes. And now it’s in every storage, Target and Wal-Mart and Barnes& Noble and precisely anywhere you can think of. And we’ve sold the Italian liberties, the Korean freedoms, French, Spanish, Slovenian. So it’s going world. And it’s just a very, extremely, very exciting time. But has absolutely nothing modified? No. People are still parties. Love is still cherished. Grief is still grief. And that’s why 20 years later, it’s like a entire nother generation. Children that grew up with this book are now having children of their own. So it’s just an amazing, stunning, amazing experience.

Gabe Howard: The thing that I love most about that fib is it years. It’s measured in years between the time that you wrote the book, produced the book, and then it led, the words that “youre using” were viral.

Patrice Karst: Oh, yeah. Probably 14. Yeah.

Gabe Howard: So numerous beings are just, is it gonna happen for me? Is just what I have good? And, you are well aware, when it doesn’t happen in the first couple of weeks or the first couple of months, people give up and you weathered. And because of that, your diary has sold well over a half hundreds of thousands of facsimiles and has spin offs. And it’s going really, really strong. I think there’s an incredible instruction in there for parties that are working on their dreams. It’s

Patrice Karst: Absolutely.

Gabe Howard: It’s not going to happen when you wanted to, but. But it could.

Patrice Karst: All in God’s time. And if a notebook or a send, if your sense is meant to be heard, it will be heard. This is a phenomenon that has taken me by ended astonish and awe and joy. But I do think you’re right. I think that when we put a letter out there in the world, it’s not up to us. You know, it’s kind of like we’ve got to let go of the results. We were called to write or cause something. Our job is to create it and applied it out there. And then certainly it’s up to fate to decide what’s going to happen with it. Our job is to kept it out there.

Gabe Howard: Exactly. I could not agree more. Let’s swap gears for a moment and talk about your work with Dr. Wyss. And the reason why is because now it’s a assistant workbook. You know, it started out as a narrative and we know that that storey has helped hundreds of thousands of people. But now you have a workbook and this comrade workbook. It allows you to probe deeper into the original works, but it also has therapeutic benefits. What are your goals for these to help more and more beings, particularly with their mental health?

Patrice Karst: Well, that’s just it. You know, I had started seeing that healers and psychologists and both teachers and caregivers all over the world were developing different activities to go along with the book because it just gives itself to that. And probably again, around six, seven years ago, I got an e-mail from Dana. She was an art therapist and she was neighbourhood to where I live. And she wrote me a beautiful symbol and said that she and so many healers she knew were exercising the book and she was dealing with drug addicted fathers that had never ligament with their own children because a lot of them had come from their own abusive genealogy status. And she was using the book to help bridge the gap so that they could bond with their own children. And one of her clients have already established a beautiful piece of art with the invisible cord as the theme. And she wanted to send it to me. And I said, well, you are well aware, you’re regional, why don’t we have lunch? And you can give it to me then. And we met for lunch. And she was so lovely and telling me about all these activities that she had created. And I said, my idol, we should do a workbook for the invisible string.

Patrice Karst: And she time climbed up and down and “were just” both so exciting. And so we signed on a napkin on a paper napkin in the restaurant. We signed our transaction that we are to be able do this workbook together and we would split it 50 50. And then she went off to create most of the activities with me sort of administering. And then Little Brown bought the book and said, of course, we want this workbook. And by that time, Dana had become a PhD in artwork care. But yeah, it’s got over 50 acts, prowes pleasures, journaling, questions, plays, creative, stunning, beautiful activities, including “weve created” these opulent colored placards that are sort of like affirmation cards that the teenagers can pull out of the book. They’re perforated and we’ve got all kinds of tournaments and activities they can use these cards for. So it’s such a rich workbook and we’re getting amazing feedback because it exactly is the next step. It’s wow, there’s all these concepts we’ve now clarified and the invisible string. Now, how do we take it even deeper and make it even more personal for each child? So we’re very excited about the workbook.

Gabe Howard: I know that you mentioned that there were 50 the actions of the workbook. Can you talk about your favorite one and explain it to our listeners?

Patrice Karst: Well, frankly, I would say that probably the cards that exist in the back of the book, because there’s so many different things that they can do with these placards, they are unable to journal on each poster, they can play games with the card. They can each day pick up a different poster and talk about the meaning of that placard. There’s one activity where it’s called two centres. And because an invisible cord is love that travels back and forth forever on these two mettles that we’ve already pump, they can collage, write, or glean all of the things that they get from the person that’s at the other outcome of their string and then the other heart, they proceed all the things that they give to that person. And so it’s beautiful. If I were children, which we all are children at heart, I would mine deep into this workbook and have a great time do it.

Gabe Howard: Now, this workbook, can it be used with the parents and the children? Is it?

Patrice Karst: Absolutely. Obviously, it’s best to have an adult kind of showing the minors the different activities and navigating them. But yeah, it’s something they can do side by side or “their childrens” can merely do the specific activities all by themselves or in groups. You know, the activities lend themselves to be done as group activities, very. So it’s multi-faceted.

Gabe Howard: Patrice, thank you for coming in for being on the picture. Do you have any final words or final beliefs for our listeners before we head out?

Patrice Karst: Just make love the key priorities in your life. I symbolize, I is a well-known fact that voices cliche, but it’s a cliche that is worthy. Love really is, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters. And if you are fortunate enough to have children in your life in any faculty, whether you’re a coach, caregiver, mother, grandparent, or you have a neighbor that’s a child or if you ever were a child. Love is the only thing that matters. And you’re anointed to have children in your life and precisely spread the ardour because it’s real and the invisible fibre is real. And not just, you know, we’ve talked a lot about death, but the invisible string that’s right here and alive and whether we have a best friend that moves throughout the country or to another country or someone like in my son’s occurrence, why I wrote the book. You know, we’re gonna be separated for a few cases hours or fill in the blank that the passion is real and we are all connected by invisible strings. And just to end the invisible entanglement, which is the book that’s coming out, April is really the eventual thought, which is where all of our invisible fibres connect across the world. We really are all connected by invisible cords. Therefore, we live in an invisible web of love. And what I say to you has forks and we’re all connected. There is no separation between us. Not truly. We’re one large-scale family.

Gabe Howard: I couldn’t agree more, Patrice. Obviously, you can get Patrice’s volumes, The Invisible String, The Invisible Leash, The Invisible Web and the upcoming You Are Never Alone: An Invisible String Lullaby, along with the workbook, pretty much wherever works are sold, it’s very widely available. But Patrice, do you have your own social media spirit or Web site that people can find you on?

Patrice Karst: I do. There’s The Invisible String Facebook sheet and my website is And I “ve been wanting to” get characters from my books and my devotees and I write everybody back a personal letter so you can contact me through the Web site and let me know how the invisible string has been moving in your life.

Gabe Howard: Thank you, Patrice, and thank you to all of our listeners who have listened in. Remember, wherever you downloaded this podcast, please subscribe. Too, give us as countless bullet parts, virtuosoes or minds as possible and use your words. Tell beings why you like the display. Share us on social media. Remember, we have a private Facebook group that you can find at the shortcut FBShow and always remember to brace our patron. You can get one week of free, opportune, economical, private online advise anytime, anywhere simply by inspect PsychCentral. We will see everyone next week.

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