Minnesota mother writes children's book to help explain sibling loss

- For anyone at any age, death is a difficult topic to understand and to talk about.

Thursday marks five years since the Markle family lost their baby daughter Tabitha. Amanda and Jon Markle have endured a lot in that five years and their story is complicated.

They are now sharing part of their journey with a book that has helped them cope with their grief. Amanda wrote a book called “Stella’s Story” and it's about Tabitha and how they explained death to their surviving daughter, Isabelle.

Stella was a name they had considered for Tabitha before she was born. The word means star and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” was sung at her funeral.

Books on how to explain sibling loss to children are few and far between and publishing the book is something Amanda feels could help others.

“These are the words I spoke to Isabelle,” said Amanda.  

The Stella character in the book is always looking down on her sister and always in her heart.  

The Markles were headed home on January 18, 2013 and after taking a short-cut across Lake Minnetonka, their SUV went through the ice. They were unable to get baby Tabitha out of her car seat. Jon faced drunk driving charges after the crash and has since gone through alcohol treatment. His probation required him to give 100 talks about his accident and he has gone above and beyond that number. 

“I’m very proud of him,” said Amanda. “Jon and I talk together at some grief coalitions and Jon talks to driver’s education and first-time DWI offenders.”

They’ve remained married, had two children since the accident and committed themselves to helping others avoid tragedy and cope with grief.

“Stella’s Story” is available on Amazon

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