The Real-Life Story Behind ‘Love You Forever’ By Robert Munsch
If you have children or were a child yourself in the ’80s, you likely remember the children’s book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. The story chronicles the life of a mom taking care of her beloved son, until old age takes over and he is the one who ultimately takes care of her.
The book is known for its famous lines of:
I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.
Are you crying yet?! The illustrations (done by Sheila McGraw) are beautiful and heartfelt, and this story became a cult classic pretty much the moment it was published. I have vivid memories of my own mother reading the book to me when I was little, and I still have my original copy of the story packed in a box with baby memorabilia.
As it turns out, the inspiration for the story is even more heartbreaking than the book itself. Munsch created the four most famous lines of the story to mourn the loss of he and his wife’s stillborn child. It was the couple’s second stillborn child, and repeating the lines to himself was his way of grieving.
This sort of “song” was something that Munsch couldn’t even say out loud. For a long time, he didn’t even share the lines with his wife. “[The song] was my way of crying,” Munsch revealed to the Huffington Post.
The couple were later told by doctors that they would not be able to conceive children. Although they were heartbroken, Munsch and his wife went on to adopt three children, but he would still repeat those iconic lines to himself as a sort of silent lullaby.
Then one day, the idea for the book popped into his head. We wrote it wholly and completely, and it became an instant success. “The book is kind of an ideal, the way we hope things will happen,” Munsch explained. “It’s the only one of my books that escaped being a children’s book.”
The story itself is extremely sad, yet beautiful, and the truth behind the story’s creation is even more heartbreaking. However, Love You Forever is an amazingly powerful piece of literature, and it’s something every mother should have on her child’s book shelf.