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Explaining cremation to a 4 year old

Anonymous
Posted by Anonymous
  • 35 Replies
This has been one of the hardest days in my life. My father in law passed away from cancer this morning. My dd knew it was coming but what I didn't expect is that she thought we would still see him, he would just be dead. He has been in a hospice house and she thought her grandma was just going to take his body home and he would just be there not breathing. So I had to explain that his body would rot and that they will be burning it and grandma will have his ashes in a pretty box. I told her this this morning and she seemed fine with it. Now she won't sleep because she is scared about it. I ended up giving her some meletonin so I hope that helps. I don't know if I should have told her something different but she will see the box I am sure. Mil doesn't sugar coat things so I thought I would be better to hear it from me. She hasn't been raised with religion thus far but I think I will introduce her to it to see if the thought of him in heaven helps her.
Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 12, 2014 at 1:16 AM
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MixedCooke
by Ruby Member on Mar. 12, 2014 at 1:28 AM

Well when our dogs died, I told our daughter that Jesus wanted to have a pet, so our dog was the lucky one that was called up!  Maybe lighten it up and say that Jesus wanted someone to play chess with. 

NHGal
by Bronze Member on Mar. 12, 2014 at 1:30 AM
Speak to the funeral director, they might have some advice. I know they were helpful to my friend when her husband died and they had to explain it to her daughter.
And I am so sorry for your loss. May you find peace.
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Mar. 12, 2014 at 1:45 AM
I tried the Jesus route but since she hasn't been raised with religion she didn't get it. She thinks Jesus is a bad word because it is what her dad (and fil for that matter) always out when they get hurt. The memorial service might help her some but I am not sure. It will be a religious service.

Quoting MixedCooke:

Well when our dogs died, I told our daughter that Jesus wanted to have a pet, so our dog was the lucky one that was called up!  Maybe lighten it up and say that Jesus wanted someone to play chess with. 

Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Mar. 12, 2014 at 1:46 AM
Thank you. We don't have a funeral director per say but I am sure the reverend from the church will have some ideas.

Quoting NHGal: Speak to the funeral director, they might have some advice. I know they were helpful to my friend when her husband died and they had to explain it to her daughter.
And I am so sorry for your loss. May you find peace.
dblhlx
by Gold Member on Mar. 12, 2014 at 1:48 AM
I dont know hun. Ive never had to be in that situation. But here is a bump and im sorry for yours and your family's loss.
Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Mar. 12, 2014 at 1:50 AM

I personally wouldn't take my young child to a funeral, or go into detail about the dead body.  I'd probably just explain the heaven thing. "He's gone to live with God."  because it's a lot less scary.

MixedCooke
by Ruby Member on Mar. 12, 2014 at 1:53 AM

 

Quoting Anonymous: I tried the Jesus route but since she hasn't been raised with religion she didn't get it. She thinks Jesus is a bad word because it is what her dad (and fil for that matter) always out when they get hurt. The memorial service might help her some but I am not sure. It will be a religious service.
Quoting MixedCooke:

Well when our dogs died, I told our daughter that Jesus wanted to have a pet, so our dog was the lucky one that was called up!  Maybe lighten it up and say that Jesus wanted someone to play chess with. 

 Sorry, i thought you said she was raised with religion.  Maybe tell her that Grandma wanted to keep Grandpa with her until they could be buried together.  Yeah death is hard to discuss with kids that age because you dont want to take away their innocence but dont want to leave them in the dark either.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Mar. 12, 2014 at 1:54 AM
I try to be as honest with her as possible. She asked so I answered. She knew that he wouldn't be breathing anymore but she also knew that his body didn't just disappear. Would you have just ignored the questions? As he will be cremated so no casket I see no reason for her not to go. If she is uncomfortable or wants to leave I will have a friend that can take her to the Sunday school room to play.

Quoting Anonymous:

I personally wouldn't take my young child to a funeral, or go into detail about the dead body.  I'd probably just explain the heaven thing. "He's gone to live with God."  because it's a lot less scary.

Chandra314
by Silver Member on Mar. 12, 2014 at 1:55 AM
I, too, dread this with my guys--3.5 years old.
When our dog died, I explained that he was "helping the earth". They know about web chains and how plants grow, so that seems like enough for them right now.
But I know my DHs grandmother (95years old) doesn't have much time, and she will be cremated.
Not being religious, as we aren't either, I don't have any idea where to go from there.
Maybe work on something really basic--like being outside and mentioning the dust on the ground, and how that dust is what is leftover from all other living and non-living things (even stars -- the stars thing seems to make mine feel happy, being connected to them), and that everything has its place in this world. Grandpa, too, is part of the dust, and his place is in her heart...?

Is that waaaay too hippie for ya?
Heisenberg
by on Mar. 12, 2014 at 1:56 AM

With my daughter, we talked about energy being recycled and becoming other things. She's never asked about the actual body though.

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