Imagery for young children
When their brothers or sisters
 are hospitalized
A letter to Benjo


Dear Benjo,
                Hi there! My name is Joan and I wish that I could come play with you. I live really far away. The funny thing is that it doesn't matter, because I know how to pretend. I bet that you are a good pretender, too! Here's what I pretend...that I'm hopping up on a big fluffy white cloud. It's so much fun to be in the cloud. Real cozy, and  I can look down on everybody else from up in the sky. Can you do that, too? The sky is very blue, and the sun is nice and warm.

Well, the good thing about this pretend trip on a cloud is that I can get to fly on over to visit you and Maddy and Lucy and your Mum and Dad.  I know that it's just in my mind, but that's OK. It's great to pretend when you can't really be where you'd like to be, don't you think? It makes me feel like I'm almost really there.

You can have your own cloud, Benjo, and you can use it to pretend you're visiting Maddy. I know that she would like that. It must be very hard not to have Maddy at home, but I bet if you try real hard, you'll be able to be with her in your mind. When you're on your cloud, use your mind to remember fun times you have with Maddy and with Lucy. I love to remember fun times- it sort of makes me feel like they're happening all over again. What about you?

Did you know that there is something special about kisses, too? If you blow kisses to Maddy, she will catch them. They will make her feel so much better while she's in the hospital. And if you're very patient and watchful while you're on your cloud, maybe you'll be able to catch the kisses that she throws back to you.Of course this is just make believe, but it really works for me, and I know that it will for you, too.

One more thing, Benjo. Do you know why Maddy got sick? Sometimes children think that getting sick happened to them because they did something wrong. Isn't that silly? The real truth is that it's all a giant mystery. Nobody knows why lots of bad things happen, like Maddy being sick. And even though the hospital seems like a bad place because you can't be there right now,  it's really good. It's good because that's where all of the nurses and doctors are trying their best to help Maddy get all better again.

So, sweetie, you have an important job to do. You can send your kisses to your sister, and tell her that if she pretends real hard, maybe she'll be able to see you right out of her hospital window...way up there in your fluffy cloud !

                    Love, your friend Joan


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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing
Lehman College, CUNY

Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: September 21, 2007