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Colorado’s Nancy Sharp embraces difficult conversations. In her life, the hardest of those began in May of 2004, after her husband—the father of her two 3-year-old children—passed away. Since then, Sharp has drawn on her personal experiences and conversations pertaining to grief as a basis for books and motivational speeches. Her message? Be open: It’s ok to talk about grief, share feelings, and keep the memories of loved ones alive. Her latest book, Because The Sky Is Everywhere, a children’s book, is born out of her desire to use her experiences to help others.
Because The Sky Is Everywhere follows a young boy named Liam, whose father has passed away. He looks all over for his dad but can’t find him, until eventually he feels the presence of his father in the sky. The illustrations, done by David Dodson, are mostly in black and white. Liam is consistently drawn in bright colors, though, and the rest of his world brightens up after he finds his dad’s love in the sky.
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The story was inspired by a conversation that took place more than a decade ago, after Sharp was told she should take the kids for a drive past the cemetery where their father was buried.
It was first time her children had been to the cemetery. She recalls gripping the steering wheel of her Honda Odyssey as they drove past the burial site. Her daughter asked if dad was in the cemetery. Before Sharp could respond, her son piped up. “No, Daddy is in the sky,” he says. “The sky is everywhere.”
Sharp could tell her son’s words were wise well beyond his years. “I knew they were going to be ok when he said that,” Sharp says. “It was a way to identify that even though their dad isn’t physically with them, his love is in fact everywhere.”
Sharp might be familiar to those who read Both Sides Now, which was published in 2014 and won a Colorado Book Award. Because The Sky Is Everywhere is simpler, but still carries a potent message about the importance of finding the love from a companion who’s now gone.
Although it’s technically a children’s book, the intended audience extends to all families, educators, professionals, and non-profit organizations that support children affected by loss and trauma. Because The Sky Is Everywhere gently references death in a way that allows its message to resonate with those who have experienced any sort of loss, whether it’s a parent, sibling, grandparent, or even a pet. Sharp’s hope is that those who read it are able to reflect on how they talk about grief. Her children are now 15 years old, and Sharp says her conversations have changed over time. “We just marked 13 years that Brett died earlier this month,” she says. “I can tell you that we all still wrestle with the sadness.”
Because The Sky Is Everywhere is available locally at The Artisan Center, Tattered Cover, The Bookies, BookBar, and Chewy’s Bonetique. It is also available—in both English and Spanish—on Amazon and through Sharp’s website, nancysharp.net.