An Inspirational Story of Love and Loss
Every other weekend, Rihanna spends with Mema and Papa at their house. With Papa, they enjoy spending time together watching girly movies and cartoons, eating ice cream (sometimes in Papa’s bed), riding bikes, blowing bubbles and reading books. And occasionally, even the aunts, uncles and cousins come to visit for even more fun.
Then one day Rihanna’s mom pulls Rihanna and her little brother, Deshawn to her and tell them, “Papa is gone. Papa died from lung cancer. Papa is in heaven, no longer with us.” Rihanna realizes that she will never hear Papa call her “baby girl” again and she will never be able to do any of the fun things with Papa again.
In a state of confusion, fear and worry, Rihanna begins to question why. Why did Papa die? Why did he die from cancer? What is cancer? Is that why Papa didn’t look like himself? What is a funeral? Why can’t Papa come home with us after the funeral? Soon, Rihanna’s worry turns to losing other loved ones. Will Mema die next?
Even though the adults answer her many questions and reassure her that everyone else is okay, Rihanna creates the “Pretend Game” to help her cope with the pain of losing Papa and to help her keep the cherished memories of Papa deep in her heart.