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Has your ASD Child had to deal with the Death of a Family Member?

Posted by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 1:45 PM
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Lane's Maternal Grandmother passed away almost 2 weeks ago. Lane is age 10 & has never had to deal with death of a loved one. He keeps saying over & over, "Mama Rita take me to Me Ma's house, I wake up in the morning & see Me Ma" It's breaking our hearts. Kathy, Lane's mother & truly the Daughter I never had is so sad with the death of her Mom, (only 58 years old) I know Lane sees her crying & totally knows she upset. He has been told Me Ma is in Heaven, that she has died, but I don't think he can get the concept! Any thoughts from anyone that has been through this, please share with me.

Thanks, Rita...........Group Owner






by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 1:45 PM
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by Member on Dec. 15, 2008 at 1:56 PM

Zach lost his great grandfather (step but the only one he knew) on New Year's Eve last year. He was just 5 at the time. I don't know how your little one is but Zach is extremely literal when it comes to real life things. A councelor told me to be very literal with him. To tell him exactly what happened to Papaw (he was in surgery to remove a kidney and threw a clot and he had a heart attack). I told Zach that Papaw went to have one of his kidneys taken out because it wasn't working anymore and when he was in there his heart just stopped working and that Papaw went on to live with Jesus and that we would see him there when it was our time to go. Now I didn't tell him all of this until we were at the funeral home so he could see him in the casket and all that so he would see and here it with evidence in front of him....

It was one of the worst days of my life....he fell down sobbing for his papaw and saying "no,no!"

Now sometimes I have to remind him when we are going to "granny's" house that papaw is not there that he went with Jesus and he takes it better each time.

I wish you all lots of luck and all my prayers. God Bless you and your family

by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 2:02 PM

Interesting you should post this. My Grandfather just passed last week...the funeral was Thursday. My 7y/o DS had never experienced death until this happened.

He actually, surprisingly did very well. My DS saw him in the hospital the day before he passed. We explained that Paw-Paw was going to see God in Heaven soon. At the viewing my Son asked "if Paw-Paw went to Heaven, then "why" is his body still here". We simply told him that Paw-Paw's spirit & heart, everything on the "inside" went to be w/ God & his body is a "shell" so to speak. He got it! Even cried twice during the funeral, not out loud, but tears coming down his face. Not to sound cold, but we were glad when we saw him crying. He felt the sadness in his little spirit...this was a "first" for us. We comforted him & cried together. We didn't think our Son would "get" the concept either, but he so did. He saw us cry & everytime we were honest when he'd ask questions. Prior to this experience, we underestimated his ability to understand things. I think they understand more than we realize. Even if they cannot understand certain words, they sense things in their spirit.

 ~ A Successful Marriage Requires Falling In Love Many Times...ALWAYS With The Same Person ~ Come Join Us At MarriageUnsensored  

reindeer 1reindeer 2sleighchristmas tree
by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 2:10 PM

I wanted to add that after the initial "explaining" of things, we didn't talk to our DS about it anymore unless he asked us something. It took our DS almost 2 days to process what he was witnessing, then he began asking his questions. We treated him like we would any non-ASD child pretty much.

by Bronze Member on Dec. 15, 2008 at 2:39 PM

We lost my father-in-law August 25, 2008 and Robby appears to be pretty unaffected by the whole thing.  But Kenny, he will be 6 in January, NT, has had a real hard time with it.  My in-laws had been living with us my father-in-law moved in with us the weekend after Kenny turned 1.  About 6 months later we were told that FIL had 6 months left, 12 tops, his liver was failing-cirosis (I can never spell that one) secondary to diabetes.  Well after 6 months, we moved my MIL in from the nursing home she was in.....we would only be doing it 6 months tops right?  According to the docs he's just not going to wake up any morning now.  Well, that last almost 4 years.  Kenny became very close to both of them.  And he took Sha Sha's very hard.  My father-in-law made me promise that Kenny would not watch or see him after he died, I said fine.  I knew that morning that Floyd was going to die that day.  So I called my friend and took the boys over there.  The hospice chaplain showed up, said a prayer, played some music, we all said good bye, 2 deep breathes and he was gone.  We told Kenny that Sha Sha got old and things quit working so God and Jesus took him to live with them in heaven.  Kenny thought the docs in heaven could fix him up and send him back, and just kept coming up with stuff and still is, I don't think he quite understands still.  He thinks we can go to heaven and see Sha Sha, well we drove to MI over the summer...why not heaven???  We have taken him to the cemetary and explained that Sha Sha is here now, in the ground....."let's dig him up and see him."  Losing my father-in-law was hard, trying to be supportive for my husband while he lost his dad (while the rest of his family treated me like a toilet) was hard, but having to deal with Kenny losing his Sha Sha, that was the hardest part.  I did take Kenny to a local greif support group for kids for a while after Sha Sha died, because he was acting out really bad, and very upset, and it was more than we could handle alone, and that seemed to help, but I don't know how well Lane would do with something like that.  You may try contacting one of those groups to see if they have anything to offer.

Jennifer-Group Admin

by New Member on Dec. 15, 2008 at 3:41 PM

hi i lost my mom in june this year my son who is 6 was very close to her, we would visit her everyday in the nursing home and he would take care of her give her a drink, kleenex and tell her to eat, my mom even nicknamed him Dr Dakota, he did not understand i told him she was really sick and old and Jesus took her to heaven to be with him, he still talks about her not as much as when it first happened, we went to the lights  last week and seen a lighted angel he wanted to know how they grandma rose to heaven i told him they had wings and flew up there he seemed satisified i dont think there is an easy way to explain death to our kids.

by Member on Dec. 16, 2008 at 1:13 PM

       We lost our nana (my mother in law ) a year ago. We visit the cemetary about  3 mths. ago & my son sac ask mat if we knew who was there mat responded nana sleeping.  When we go to take flowers mat does't like to get off the car he starts crying.  Sometimes I wondered what he feels I know he knows that nana is not around anymore. 

 special mom to mat & sac

by on Dec. 16, 2008 at 5:14 PM

We have lost a great deal of loved ones over the last 5 years and also dealt with the birth of soon to be 3 new children and I am not really sure how Ashley has taken it. all. She almost acts like it never happend. We have always been very honest with her however we did not take her to any of the furnerals (not a single one of my children went until this last February my oldest daughter went but she was old enough to comprehend and is not autistic either). When my one grandfather died we were living with him and he had lung cancer she really did not understand that whole situation but did now that Grandpa went to the angels. However when my mother, father in law, great grandma and lastly my other grandfather all passed away we tried to tell her about it but she just said she already knows cuz they told her. So take that as you will it scared us a bit at first but now she will sit in her room on the floor and "talk" to them all the time about stuff. I guess it is just her way of dealing with the loss. And we dont stop her, and we never bring it up unless she does and then we just agree with her unless she needs something answered.

by Bronze Member on Dec. 17, 2008 at 10:18 AM

slapping foreheadI have often wondered how a death in the family would affect an autistic child.  I am so sorry to hear what you are going through.  For that matter, wouldn't a child need some sort of religious upbringing to explain this happening?  I know that most parents with autistic children don't have the opportunity to nuture themselves with what their spirit needs....and the child?........How hard must it be to take an autistic child to sunday school?  And would they get anything from it?  It's a tuff situation at best.  My heart goes out to you and your dear little guy, and if prayer will help at all, you've got mine!  Beth100

by on Dec. 17, 2008 at 10:58 AM

My sons are 4 yrs and 2 yrs and we have never taken them to a funeral. I think them being so young, they would not be able to understand death or heaven or anything like that. I do know that it will be hard to explain when my mother dies to my 4 yr old cause he is very close to my mother. I know that when she does die, explaining how "Oma" isn't there anymore is not going to be a pleasent experience. He will have a total meltdown. And there will be nothing I can say or do that will make him understand that she isn't here anymore. But, for right now, DH and I feel the need to just leave it alone. We also do not attend church or anything like that. My MIL wanted to take our 4 yr old to church with her and we told her no because for one, strange environment and he does not adapt well, for another, he will get bored and start to make a scene and lastly, we told her that no 4yr old can understand the concept of God, let alone religion and that when he is older and wants to know more, then he can go. Until then, we stay home. And yes, I am Pagan, but my DH isn't and I have no problem with him going to church with his family, but I do not want the children to go until they can undestand what it's all about. I remember my grandmother teaching me the "Now I lay me down to sleep" prayer when i was about 4 yrs old and I had no clue what it really meant, I just echoed her words so that she would be happy.  And I just cannot picture taking my two boys to a funeral mass at church and expecting them to sit still and behave. Nor could I expect them to go to the gravesite with us when the burial time is and just stand there and behave. A 2 yr old and a 4 yr old? Come on, no child "normal" or otherwise is going to want to stand there or sit in a church and behave for that long a time period!

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