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Have you had to explain death to your child?

I have a 5 year old daughter and a 3 year old son. My aunt, whom I am very close with, is very sick. She has a very rare and aggressive thyroid cancer, and it is terminal. She decided, this week, to stop the chemo and radiation treatments, as they were torture for her, and would not extend her life by very long. She moved into hospice yesterday, and I know that she does not have very long left. I am completely clueless as to how to explain these things to my kids, mostly my daughter, because my son is a bit delayed and I don't think he would understand it anyway. Have you been in a similar situation, and if so, how did you handle it?

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Krysta622

Asked by Krysta622 at 4:16 PM on Mar. 25, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 23 (15,412 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • my daughter and i went to my grandma's funeral. there was a viewing. i didnt want her to see my grandma that way. they were very close. she was the first great grand baby! and she asked me if she could see grandma sleeping. so i had to explain she wasnt going to wake up. she still asks everyday if we can take a plane to heaven to visit grandma and jesus. but she knows at the same time she is gone and happier
    mommato2burds

    Answer by mommato2burds at 4:20 PM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • Well definitely not on the same scale but a few months ago my 5 year old son's goldfish died. He was very upset. We had a fishy funeral and I explained to him that his fish is in heaven now with God and the fish is very happy. Then we talked about how everyone dies, its a part of life. But we don't really die, just our bodies, and our souls/spirits go on to live forever in heaven with Jesus. Then I told him how wonderful heaven is and that seemed to really help my son with death. I think I explained it too well for him bc sometimes he'll tell me he wants to die so he can see what God looks like and play in heaven. I told him only God says when people are ready to go so he is not allowed to leave me yet!
    mamatel

    Answer by mamatel at 4:21 PM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • I am having to go through this kinda right now. Except it is the baby I am pregnant with is not going to make it long after birth. I have a 4 1/2 year old special needs child, and I know she will pick up on one minute there is a baby and the next he is gone. Do you live near your aunt? I would talk to hospice..they can let you know how to explain death to your kids. It also depends on your beliefs, whether or not you believe in a "God."
    sondamom0828

    Answer by sondamom0828 at 4:23 PM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • Yes, My Grandmother/My children ages at the time 3,4 and 7. This one I had to deal with because the funeral was out of state and they had to go with me. Amazingly enough children are far more open minded than we are as adults. They really don't understand the concept of NEVER seeing them again, UNTIL Heaven of course! If I were you I would make your kids aware if they are not already that you Aunt is sick. Then when the time comes you talk to them about and answer their questions as honestly as you can. My 7 year old cried a little at the service but otherwise they still talk about Grandma and we have her picture up and they speak matter of fact, remember this or that and that she is in heaven! I'll pray for you and your family....such a difficult time, why is life so hard? Oh That's a whole other topic! Hugs to You!
    jdct

    Answer by jdct at 4:25 PM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • we have talked about this since my kids were old enough to talk. It is our beliefs as Hindus that we are eternal spirit souls, we never die. The body becomes worn out and the soul quits the body and gets a new one. Death is not to be feared. Just explain that Auntie will be quitting the body that she is in and going someplace else where she will be happy and healthy
    shivasgirl

    Answer by shivasgirl at 4:28 PM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • i explained death to my 3 year old by showing her a a bouquet of flowers we got two weeks before. i showed her the flowers that were still alive and said how beautiful they were, then showed her the ones that were wilting. i told her sometimes flowers are like people.. some get old, some get sick, but when they get there they slowly wither and die. then i showed her the seeds, and showed how they are like memories than can bloom into happy memories you had with that person. even though they are gone they are not forgotten. they lead a beautiful life but there time was done.
    (after i told her this story my father overheard, and arranged for the cards to have the heart shaped seed packets attached to the momento cards at the service for his father,)
    xxhazeldovexx

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 5:11 PM on Mar. 25, 2011

  • btw, i'm atheist and while I want my kids to learn about all beliefs before commiting to their own, I don't want to use heaven as an explanation of death since that's not what I believe. So I told them in a way that could be used for anyone, whether you believed in heaven or not, etc.
    xxhazeldovexx

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 5:15 PM on Mar. 25, 2011

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