Lacie Brueckner ’05 Writes Children’s Books to Assist the Grieving Process

Lacie Brueckner remembers vividly the frustrations she felt as a young child when she wasn’t allowed to attend her great grandparent’s funeral.

It was later in highschool when she decided to pursue a career in mortuary science. Following her graduation from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2005, Brueckner began to work as a funeral director. However, she is now chasing a new passion, becoming a children’s author. 

In May of 2020, Brueckner published “In Loving Memory”. She partnered with Katherine Pendergast, another children’s author. The two came together to write this story with the goal of walking children through the grieving process and a funeral. 

The book tells the story of a young girl named Harper. Harper is suffering the loss of her grandmother, a close friend of hers. Starting with Harper’s mother telling her the news that her grandmother has passed away, the book captures the dialogue between a child and their parents about what death means. 

“We wanted to remove the fear and allow for parents to have a conversation with their child,” Brueckner said. “Sometimes we just need permission to hear that it’s okay. That's what this book does. It gives parents a tool to help have that conversation, and hopefully help it not be so scary for both the parent and the child.”

Brueckner and Pendergast highlighted some ways that helped Harper grieve her grandmother. Harper makes monster cookies because her grandmother liked them. She also shares some of her favorite memories.

Brueckner shared that “In Loving Memory” is the only children’s book to feature a casket burial. The illustrations in the story depict a funeral with the grandmother’s casket. Another version of the story depicts an urn at a funeral. Brueckner and Pendergast wanted to offer children an explanation to both of these potentially confusing concepts.

“When it comes to funerals, I’ve always been a strong advocate for children,” Brueckner said. “Don't be afraid to talk to your kid, even if they're really young, and ask them if they want to go or not. You can read their body language and get a good sense if they want to participate or not.”

Parents have given Brueckner feedback that this book has been helpful for processing their own grief. Brueckner hopes to create more stories that highlight different relationships. She is in the process of brainstorming stories that walk through the loss of a parent, sibling and classmate.

“If we help one kid, it was well worth it, but the beautiful thing is we've helped many, and that's been a blessing,” Brueckner said.

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