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How do you explain to a child what you can understand yourself?

My father commited sucicide when I was ten. Life hasn't been the same for me since. Like most young girls my father was the light of my life. Since his death I can't even talk about getting married because the question always comes up about who will walk me down the isle. Now that I am having a child I am excited as ever, ( I wasn't at first) and the baby's middle name is after my dad. I know I have a long time before I'm faced with the question of where's grandpa or whatever other cute name he will become to my child but what am I suppose to say? How do you stay strong in a subject that you yourself can't handle. Im 19, it has been 9 years in November and I can't face the fact without crying. Much less explain that grandpa isn't here and never will be.
I know having a child is a joyous occasion but how can I avoid thinking about how I would love for my dad to be holding him first without being sad infront everyone?

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Asked by MalakiahsMommy at 9:39 PM on Apr. 6, 2009 in General Parenting

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Answers (10)
  • First of all, I am so sorry about this. There is nothing wrong with you still being sad about it now. There is no reason you should have to let go and not be sad. Have you thought of seeing a counselor? They might help you work through your emotions so you can understand not what happened but how to deal with it. And when the time comes to talk to your child, there is no reason you can't cry or be sad or emotional. It is an emotional thing.

    Answer by ZaTa at 9:49 PM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • You have to be honest with a child and say you dont understand why he is gone either. Explain that you are sad and you miss him. Kids dont get too complex with stuff like that. As long as they see that you are ok with it and that its ok to be sad. They will be fine.

    Answer by mom2twobabes at 10:09 PM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • I scrap book, and in my daughter's scrap book I put a section for great grandparents. My grandmother is still alive, but my husband has lost both of his grandparents who were very important in the same year. If you scrap book you could do a section just for him. Your child will grow up knowing the positive things about your relationship with your father and who he was. You could also take any video tapes you might have and have them converted into a dvd. Taking what you have that you remember and having that to show your son later on will be important.

    Answer by 2-1CavWife at 10:19 PM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • There is no reason to tell your child how grandpa died, all you have to say is that grandpa is his/her guardian angel in heaven and is watching over him/her and protecting her. Tell the child what a wonderful person grandpa was and how proud he would be of him/her. SHow pictures, make a scrapbook to share with your child.

    It also may be time for you to see a counselor to help you deal with the grief and other emotions you are feeling. You were just a little girl when your died passed away and didn't understand why. I hope it gets easier for you.

    Enjoy your baby and remember all the good times you had with your dad.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 11:00 PM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • I don't think it should be discussed with the child unless he asks specifically how gramps died. Just say he died before you were born but he would have loved you. That should work.

    Answer by admckenzie at 11:08 PM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • I'm so sorry for your loss. Have you ever sat down and talked to a grief counselor or anything like that? It can help! Perhaps starting this new chapter as a mom will be a catalyst to find some peace with this traumatic loss.
    As for what to tell your child, I think another post had a great idea- it will be a long time before your child understands the concept of death, much less the concept of suicide. Just say that he is named after your dad who died before he was born, and he would have loved him so much. My son is named after my grandpa and my daughter is named after my gramma and that's what I have told them- that they died long before the kids were born, but I loved them so much and oh how they would have loved the kids!

    Answer by Freela at 11:18 PM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • My son's grandmother passed away when I was three months pregnant. I like to think that she WAS the first to hold him. My son knows who grandma is, we look at her pictures often. He knows she's in heaven, and that she loved him before he was even born, and that she watches over him, like a gaurdian angel. That's all he needs to know, and that's all your child needs to know. I'm more worried about you. Have you talked to anyone about your father?



    Answer by msmoody at 12:40 AM on Apr. 7, 2009

  • I agree with other posts that encourage YOU to talk to someone about this. You are clear still very sad about it. I am not sure if the father of your child is someone you would consider marrying, but don't let the circumstances stop you. Life is not perfect. I didn't want a wedding bc to me weddings were about moms helping daughters get ready for them. Since I don't have a mom I dreaded the experience, but when the time came my step-mom was happy to fill the roll. Maybe there will be someone who you want to walk you down the isle, maybe you will do what my friend did. She had a picture of her dad with a memory candle next to it. She walked herself down the isle carrying a white rose that she placed next to her dad's pic and candle, then joined her groom. It was very moving and there may be no replacement for you dad. You could have your mom walk you too...don't worry about tradition.


    Answer by Anonymous at 1:48 AM on Apr. 7, 2009

  • As for what you tell your child about your dad. You wait for the baby to ask. He may be 6 or 16 before he asks, but at some point he will. Then you answer with the truth.

    "I loved your grandpa very much, but he was sick. He was sad, overwhelmed, depressed and he ended his own life." (Be prepared bc a child will want details here. You need to think about what details are appropriate for what age.) And make sure you stress that your dad needed help. That if he had gotten help he would be alive today. You want to make sure a child knows that we all feel sad sometimes and that we need to reach out for help when we do.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:52 AM on Apr. 7, 2009

  • You really hit home for me with this one. My husbands brother committed suicide this past November leaving 2 girls, 10 and 12. I constantly worry about them. I know my husband will gladly stand in for him, but he is sorely missed. I'm so sorry for you.

    Answer by mompam at 11:27 AM on Apr. 7, 2009

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