I’ve never really liked Love You Forever. The song was pretty, but the story was a weird and kind of creepy. Robert Munsch’s work is mostly silly and quirky and fun. And this book just never fit for me. I didn’t understand why such a comical writer would write such a strange and sad story.
But then I read about where the song came from.
And just thinking about it has me in tears again.
I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living,
my baby you’ll be.
Robert Munsch wrote the song in Love You Forever for his two babies who were stillborn. He would sing it to himself, silently, when he thought of his children who he’d never get to know. Every time he tried to sing it out loud, he would start to cry. It was a big part of his grief journey.
Eventually, he decided to share the song and came up with a story to go with it. His regular publisher didn’t think it made a very good children’s book so declined to publish it. Another publisher did though. And it is Munsch’s best selling book. Since 1986, it has sold over 15 million copies. As he says on his website, “parents buy it for grandparents and grandparents buy it for parents and kids buy it for everybody and everybody buys it for kids.”
Everyone sings this song in their own tune. On his website, Munsch says that’s exactly how it should be and that he loves hearing how other people sing it. If you’ve ever wondered how he sings it, he sang it in an interview a few years ago.
Having been through one stillbirth, I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through another. I can only hope and pray that next time I’m pregnant I’ll get to deliver a living child and watch them grow up. And maybe I’ll be like the mother in the story, singing this song while I rock them in their sleep.
I still don’t love the book. The story itself is still weird to me. But, I’m finding myself singing this song silently to myself often. As what was supposed to be my son’s birth month comes to a close and we get closer to a Christmas that will be very different from what we had anticipated, I’m singing this song more and more, thankful that Robert Munsch has been so open about his grief and where this song came from.