Value: Healing After Loss

Time: 20 minutes

Appropriate Ages: 10+


  • Book: Tear Soup by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen



  1. Before reading, ask, "Have you ever lost someone that was close to you? Did a best friend move away? Did a friend or family member or pet die? Do you know anyone who has lost someone close to them? What did that feel like for you?" 

  2. Explain, "This book is about a grandmother who is trying to feel better after someone she really loved died. It compares the cycle of healing- processing what happened, grieving, and trying to feel better- to making tear soup. This book is an allegory because it appears to be talking about something superficial like making soup, but really it is talking about something important- healing after loss- and it has some important lessons to teach us. "

  3. Read story. At the following points in the story, ask these discussion questions:


The book says, "Her friends would worry if they knew just how many tears Grandy's recipe called for this time." What is the author trying to teach us about crying? Is it okay to cry? Is it helpful to cry?


Why would it surprise her that the rest of the world was going on as normal?


What did Midge do that made her one of Grandy's best and most helpful friends?


Why is it important to have all emotions? What would happen if we only let ourselves feel happy all the time?


Reading Grandy's notes on the counter, what do you notice about how they change?


Following the allegory, what would it mean to not tend to your tear soup to the point that it burns and scorches, leaving a burnt smell in your home for years to come?


Why would the hardest part be deciding that it's okay to not eat soup all the time?

1. Be sure to read page 47, and then also read one of the page spreads on pages 48-51, depending on which situations best fits what you need.


If you are the one grieving:

  • What advice from the book would be a good idea to help you grieve? Remember that all parts of making tear soup are important, not just the ones at the end where you put it in the freezer?

  • How can you keep from neglecting your tear soup so it burns and boils over?

  • Who are some supportive friends in your life? Are they the same friends you used to have before the loss, or are they new ones?

If someone you know is grieving:

  • What advice from the book would be a good idea for you to help your friend?

  • How could you be a friend like Midge and not like Mrs. Cries-a-lot?

2. Depending on what might be best for you, try one of these ideas:

  • Find a quiet and safe place to look at pictures of old memories by yourself.

  • Write a story about one of your best memories

  • Try painting how you feel using basic paints and paper, while listening to a song that describes how you feel, or a song by Chopin (they're always moody and beautiful at the same time).

  • Find a group or a friend with whom you can "eat Tear Soup" together. 

  • Metaphorically put the tear soup in the freezer and try doing something else:

    • Attending a new exercise group or class​

    • Trying a new sport

    • Start working towards a new certification/degree/award you've always wanted to earn

    • Go on a walk in a new place outside

    • Try a new restaurant or food you've always wanted to try

    • Listen to some music that makes you feel happy