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how do i help my 5 yr old cope with the death of his grandparents?

in 2008 both my in-laws passed away within 3 months of each other. my son was devistated by this. he was super close to his grandma and he still cries all the time for her. his father and i are awful because we won't go bring grandma home and she wants to come home. we have not even taken him to the cemetary yet because he can not handle it yet. all anyone tells me is bla heaven and bla, bla GOD. the way we look at it in our family if GOD really loved our son HE would not have taken the most important people away from him. What kind of GOD does something that makes a 5 yr old cry everyday for 5 1/2 months? If anyone has any advice for us other than the usual GOD bla bla, we would be plenty grateful and I am sure my son would like to be able to think or talk or hear the mention of his grandparents without crying like it happened yesterday. thanks for any help, toodles

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Asked by Anonymous at 2:31 PM on Feb. 7, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (8)
  • I went through this with my kids, we have a table that has pictures of the people my kids have known who have passed away. We also planted a garden (had to leave it behind at the old house) in memory of them. We talk about them alot tell funny stories, when my kids do something i know my dad would be proud of i tell them. it has been 5 years and my oldest was 6 when my dad died they were very close. He still has some trouble but so do i you never eally get over it you just learn how to live with it.

    I also still celebrate my dads b-day which was Feb 14th, we always say happy birthday to him and light a candle near his picture.

    Answer by 3_ring_circus_ at 2:37 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • Well, this is a really hard lesson for your son to learn. When people get old they die. I know that sounds harsh but there really isn't any way to sugar coat it. I think it may be easier to take him to the cemetery and just explain it all. If you live near the cemetery let him take flowers there once and in awhile and talk to them. This may give him a sense of closure and peace. If he asking you to bring his grandma home then he has no idea what has happened. You need to explain things to him. Kids understand more than you think.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:37 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • We also gave each of my kids an item that belonged to my dad, they keep it in their room and it is theirs. They liked the idea and feel like they have a part of him with them.

    Answer by 3_ring_circus_ at 2:38 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • Death is very hard to understand specially at a 5 year old level, but if you explain the reason for dying he might have a better grasp. We die because our age makes our bodies weak to disease, and just plain wear and tear, life continues, some die and some are born to keep the balance it is the law of life that eventually ravishes our bodies, some earlier than others. Keep their memory alive and explain to him how lucky he was to have them for the time he did, some people never get to meet their grandparents at all. Some day as he gets older, a smile will come to him when he thinks of them instead of the tear, the wound is now raw but it will heal.

    Answer by older at 2:44 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • I'd concentrate on what happens after a person dies and that is that memories stay. Tell ds that death is a move. If he asks where say to heaven if he doesn't ask don't tell. Say that when his friend johnny or cousin mary moved or your friend jenny (whoever just put it in to a real life situation) that person hasnt written but memories of good times are for always.

    If he asks where grandma grandpa body tell him that it is resting in a special place in the world where all people who die rest forever. Don't say sleep he could become afraid he you will die in sleep.

    If he wants to go to the special place where grandma grandpa are resting tell him they are in a cemetery. Their thoughts are called memories that he remembers when he doesn't see them and thoughts, memories are for always. The cemeteries have houses on top of ground in which grandma grandpa are resting. Just leave it that they are resting, he can't be w/them.

    Answer by lfl at 3:04 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • op, your son could be upset too because you're reacting to his reaction to his grandparents dying plus you're reacting to your own depression of their deaths.

    Think about getting counselling for how for you yourself to accept death and to learn to guide your son. My mother used to deal with death in a specific way on every person who was close to her on their x year xy year anniversary she reacted with sadness. As parents we need to take steps for ourselves to be the best parents.

    If getting counselling for ourselves, for our kids helps as a family then do that. It's not bad to be sad about death but it's not healthy to not be able to deal with it and be so angry about death when we're parents and must guide our children through life's roads.

    Answer by lfl at 3:09 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • There are so many good books that help explain this to kids in a way to help them understand because it is written on their knowledge level.  See some here    Read together and then discuss.  Acknowledge it, let him cry when needed, talk about it, and let him know you understand.


    Answer by momjs at 10:00 AM on Feb. 8, 2010

  • Ive been dealing with the exact same situation with my 5 year old son..No matter what I said to him he would just revert back to "but I miss her" and would except no explaination to be good enough. Then one day I just said to him that Grandma Helen couldnt get better and its not fair to ask her to stay here with us feeling the way she did...Now that she is gone she feels better. He seemed to "get" that. It doesnt make him miss her less but I think it made him think about how he wouldnt want to feel bad all the time so he could understand "why she left." It just simplified it beyond what an adult would think of and it helped. I dont know if your loved ones were sick or if it was sudden but this is what helped for me.

    Answer by raymiamom at 4:59 PM on Feb. 8, 2010

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