Narratives of Nature is a space for stories inspired by our human nature and the natural world.

Elegy for an Elephant’ is a healing and hopeful picture book crafted as a therapeutic resource for readers (aged 7+) who have lost loved ones, and those communities and caretakers supporting them through their mourning.

Coming out 10th September 2023 – World Suicide Prevention Day

Out Now

Elegy for an Elephant is a picture book I have authored and illustrated, inspired by the journey of my family to repair and heal following the lived experience of losing our father to suicide.  

In the initial shadow of my father’s death, I struggled to come to terms with his decision to end his life. This book, through it’s poetic and poignant pairing of words and art, would have supported me to repair and move towards acceptance. Drawing upon this lived experience, I understand why, and how it can help so many others in grief.  While this book touches on suicide, it more universally addresses how we come to terms with grief and access shapes of healing following the loss of loved ones. 

In loving memory of my late father, Joel Abramowitz – a gentle giant.

Elegy for an Elephant is a picture book I have authored and illustrated, inspired by the journey of my family to repair following the lived experience of losing our father to suicide. 

In the initial shadow of my father’s death, I struggled to come to terms with his decision to end his life. This book, through it’s poetic and poignant pairing of words and art, would have supported me to repair and move towards acceptance. Drawing upon this lived experience, I understand why, and how it can help so many others in grief.  While this book touches on suicide, it more universally addresses how we come to terms with grief and access shapes of healing following the loss of loved ones. 

In loving memory of my late father, Joel Abramowitz – a gentle giant.

A story that holds and heals

After Elysium the elephant ends his life, his children – Wonder the whale, Grace the swallow and Hope the dove, go searching for their father’s soul. Flippers fold into feathers as the three siblings embark on a journey of healing. Their process of discovery takes them from the depths of the ocean to the eternity of the night sky and stars. Intended as a warm embrace for tender times, ‘Elegy for an Elephant’ honours the many ways we can connect with loved ones we have lost and the timeless nature of love.

A story that holds and heals

After Elysium the elephant ends his life, his children – Wonder the whale, Grace the swallow and Hope the dove, go searching for their father’s soul. Flippers fold into feathers as the three siblings embark on a journey of healing and repair. Their process of discovery takes them from the depths of the ocean to the eternity of the night sky and stars. Offered as a beacon of hope and warm embrace for tender times, ‘Elegy for an Elephant’ honours the many ways we can connect with loved ones we have lost and the timeless nature of love.

Who is this for?

  • Readers aged 7+ navigating through grief after losing a loved one (to suicide or other causes of death).  This book may also be suitable for younger readers depending on their level of emotional maturity. 
  • Caregivers, parents, teachers, and communities needing materials to support these bereaved in their mourning.
  • Mental health workers, counsellors, therapists and teachers. 
  • Anyone interested in mental health, healing from loss or seeking to learn more about the lived experience of losing a loved one.

Who is this for?

  • Readers aged 7+ navigating through grief after losing a loved one (to suicide or other causes of death).  This book may also be suitable for younger readers depending on their level of emotional maturity. 
  • Caregivers, parents, teachers, and communities needing materials to support them in their mourning.
  • Mental health workers, counsellors, therapists and teachers. 
  • Anyone interested in mental health, healing from loss or seeking to learn more about the lived experience of losing a loved one.

Why is it needed?

  • According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), there were 3144 deaths by suicide in Australia in 2021 (averaging 9 lives per day). 
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44 (AIHW).
  • Lifeline estimates exceed 65,000 suicide attempts every year.
  • Over 10 million Australian adults are estimated to know someone who has died through suicide (AIHW).  
  • There is a severe shortage of suicide bereavement resources available for families and mental health workers to draw upon.
  • A picture book is an accessible format (for younger and older readers alike) to address this complex subject matter, while addressing this literature shortfall.
 

Why is it needed?

  • According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), there were 3139 deaths by suicide in Australia in 2020 (with Lifeline estimates exceeding 65,000 suicide attempts every year)
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44 (AIHW)
  • There is a severe shortage of suicide bereavement resources available for families and mental health workers to draw upon when supporting those in grief.
  • A picture book is an accessible format (for younger and older readers alike) to address this complex subject matter, while addressing this literature shortfall.

Helping the mental health care community

As 18 symbolises life in my faith, 18% of profits from this book will be split evenly between Lifeline, Movember and Support After Suicide Services proudly supporting their meaningful work in suicide prevention and bereavement support.

This book has been peer reviewed by members of the mental health care community including children psychologists, psychotherapists, suicide bereavement specialists, grief counsellors, therapists and other mental health care support workers.  It is with their ongoing thoughtful and considered advice, the manuscript has been refined to ensure it fulfils it’s objective of being a healing resource that handles this subject matter gently and sensitively.

The artwork in this book was painted with watercolours, pencils, sea salt and sea water sourced from Sydney, Melbourne, Aireys Inlet and Cape Town.

Helping the mental
health care community

As 18 symbolises life in my faith, 18% of profits from this book will be split evenly between Lifeline, Movember and Support After Suicide Services proudly supporting their meaningful work in suicide prevention and bereavement support.

This book has been peer reviewed by members of the mental health care community including children psychologists, psychotherapists, suicide bereavement specialists, grief counsellors, therapists and other mental health care support workers.  It is with their ongoing thoughtful and considered advice, the manuscript has been refined to ensure it fulfils it’s objective of being a healing resource that handles this subject matter gently and sensitively.

The artwork in this book was painted with watercolours, pencils, sea salt and sea water sourced from Sydney, Melbourne, Aireys Inlet and Cape Town.

Pre-Reviews

“Elegy for an Elephant is a brave work that deserves the widest possible readership. It deals with the trauma of losing a loved one to suicide with a lightness and a poignancy that renders it both deeply moving and richly uplifting. The illustrations are delicate and luminous, it is a beautiful work.”  

Matt Ottley, author of The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness

 

“I find it inspiring that through this offering, Ryan is able to recycle such a tough life event into something meaningful, beautiful and poetic; which in turn will help others.”  

Matthew Johnstone, author of I Had a Black Dog. 

 

“Young grievers, and those of all ages, dealing with the painful, confusing, loss of a loved one to suicide, will feel gently held and supported by Ryan’s thoughtful words. On each page exquisite illustrations drawn from the natural world unfold, inviting the reader to breath into the possibility of healing and hope for the future.”

Dr Diana Sands PhD, Director, Centre for Intense Grief, Sydney

Author of Red Chocolate Elephants for Children Bereaved by Suicide

 

Ryan has written a deeply moving and healing book. His art reflects the depth of his sensitivity and ability to create visuals that will speak to the hearts of young and old alike. Over 22 veterans a day are being lost to suicide. Children are grieving. The book has the potential to be an essential resource for blue star families. This book touched my heart deeply as I am sure it will do for all those who turn it’s pages.  Thank you Ryan, for your vision and calling.”

Barry Zworestine, Psychologist and Combat Veteran

Author of Which Way is Your Warrior Facing 

Pre-Reviews

“Elegy for an Elephant is a brave work that deserves the widest possible readership. It deals with the trauma of losing a loved one to suicide with a lightness and a poignancy that renders it both deeply moving and richly uplifting. The illustrations are delicate and luminous, it is a beautiful work.”  

Matt Ottley, author of The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness

 

“I find it inspiring that through this offering, Ryan is able to recycle such a tough life event into something meaningful, beautiful and poetic; which in turn will help others.”  

Matthew Johnstone, author of I Had a Black Dog. 

 

“Young grievers, and those of all ages, dealing with the painful, confusing, loss of a loved one to suicide, will feel gently held and supported by Ryan’s thoughtful words. On each page exquisite illustrations drawn from the natural world unfold, inviting the reader to breath into the possibility of healing and hope for the future.”

Dr Diana Sands PhD, Director, Centre for Intense Grief, Sydney

Author of Red Chocolate Elephants for Children Bereaved by Suicide

I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and Owners upon whose land and waterways this story was imagined and created. I pay my respects to Elders – past, present and emerging, and recognise their ongoing connection to telling stories on Country.

‘Elegy for an Elephant’ is an imprint of Narratives of Nature, est. 2023. 

ISBN 978-0-6458021-9-1