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how do I tell them their great papa died?

i am not so worried about telling the 16 and 14 year olds. But how do i tell the 9, 5, and 3 year olds that their great papa passed away earlier this morning. We are all sooooo close to Papa. He is my hubby's grandpa and he pretty much raised him. Awwww, we are so devistated. We knew it wasnt going to be too much longer, he has had a lot of health concerns, but the last time the kids saw him he was so happy and played with them.

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Asked by llpalady at 8:54 AM on Oct. 21, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 2 (6 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • Just tell them. Be straight forward and don't sugar coat. Don't say things like, "He's passed on" - that will be confusing and get them thinking that he'll be back. Say that he died, he's no longer sick and that it's okay to be sad, angry, whatever. Tell them that lots of people in the family will miss him and what to expect over the next few weeks - people around them crying, hugging and even laughing as they remember things about your husband's grandpa. Prepare them for the funeral by telling them what will happen and that they should not be afraid or anxious about it. Yes, they will be devastated, but the best way for them to deal with this is head-on, rather than by bits and pieces, feeling that they aren't being included with the family during a time of grief.


    Answer by Dr.Donna at 9:03 AM on Oct. 21, 2010

  • depending on your religion, i would say something like this.." i've gathered you here because we need to talk. you may or maynot understand and it is ok to ask questions afterwards.' take a deep breath. ' today, great grandpa started on his spiritual journey and in doing so, he can't be with us anymore. he took his earthly journey and now he must finish it in spirit. we all loved him dearly and though we all might shed some tears, they are not from disappointment but actually our own spirits letting go so he can easily start the journey. when it is our time, we each will know. but until then, we all need to work on being the best person we can be.' this type of announcement whether individually or group done is usually effective even to older ones who sometimes lose sight of why we all are here. take care.

    Answer by dancingmoon84 at 4:43 PM on Oct. 21, 2010

  • Ugh, I had to tell my kids last Christmas that their great-grandpa had died, one year to the day after their great-grandma. I told them and we had a good cry.

    Answer by Pnukey at 10:04 PM on Oct. 21, 2010

  • We lost my MIL on Monday. I just sat the kids down, and told them that she has passed away. I let them take the lead from there - my DD asked a lot of questions, and I answered her honestly. There isn't any easy way to tell them, IMO, flat out honestly is the best approach. I'm so sorry for your loss.

    Answer by Scuba at 9:07 AM on Oct. 22, 2010

  • Be straight with them. The youngest may not understand now, but they will in time.

    Answer by _Tam_ at 11:37 AM on Oct. 22, 2010

  • There are books about death that may help one I really liked is by Maria Schriber. Reading a story about death helps them to understand a little better and lets them know its alright to be sad but that he's in a better place

    Answer by Momabear455 at 10:37 PM on Oct. 22, 2010

  • Honestly. Using words they understand. No abstract ideas. "His body stopped working". They can and will understand this. It may take some time, for them to understand that it's permanent. Don't liken it to age - young people die too. Give as much information as possible, in as simple terms as possible. And let them know that it's ok to be sad and to cry, but it's also ok when you feel happy again.

    I've had to have this discussion with my daughter, when her father died. And, of course, all of the women in my Widows group have been through this as well.

    Answer by aliceinalgonac at 9:34 AM on Oct. 23, 2010

  • sit down with them and start gently and tell them.

    Answer by tinker16233 at 8:53 PM on Oct. 24, 2010

  • I went through this when my Great-Grandma (DD's Great Great Grandma) passed on Easter. She was 5 and I sat her down and explained that her body had stopped working and that her spirit needed to move on. We put up pictures around the house of her for a month and she would say goodbye to the photos. Then we put them in a scrapbook and call it our 'remembering book'

    Answer by unicornnymph22 at 12:57 AM on Nov. 11, 2010

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