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Advice on how to talk with 3 year old about death (Pic added)

Posted by on Jun. 3, 2010 at 7:58 AM
  • 19 Replies

My great Pepere passed away on the 28th of May and we're driving to Canada Friday evening so we can make it to his funeral on Saturday. He has been to one wake before, it was for my cousin and this was January of 09 so we got away with "He is sleeping."

We have already told him that Great Great Pepere died and that we were going to go see him. He tried on his outfit for the funeral and seemed very proud that it was to show Great Great Pepere.

What else can I say to express death to him? We're not sure where we stand religiously and my Pepere was Catholic so they will be talking about God. Should I let him think that he is in heaven or.... I don't know what!!!


Here are some pictures:

He died at 96 years, he had 15 children, my Pepere being the second oldest. This was 22 years ago with my Memere who passed maybe 7 years ago. I am with her and my cousin Gyslain is with my Pepere. It was a blessing to have those photos and when my son was 7 weeks old we went to Canada and got professional pictures of us together.



by on Jun. 3, 2010 at 7:58 AM
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Replies (1-10):
lucky2Beeme
by Platinum Member on Jun. 3, 2010 at 8:52 AM

OMG no never go with Sleeping~~~~your child will be afraid to go to sleep.

If you believe in God you can say god to Peppere to live with him.He needed him. I told my sons 4 and 5 that my gramma went to heaven because God needed er.She was a great cook.So they assumed she cooked for God.

Keep it simple less said the better.IMHO.


Bonnie
by on Jun. 3, 2010 at 8:55 AM

I agree with the poster above.

notjstanothrmom
by Silver Member on Jun. 3, 2010 at 9:00 AM

He was about to turn 3 when my cousin passed and sleeping worked with no questions. This time we're not going with sleeping. It was not a sudden death, he had cancer for a few years, he had his leg amputated, ect.

Jacob also didn't know him and my daughter was only a month old.

Jacob doesn't know my Pepere either. He met him twice but we haven't seen him for a while so he won't recognize him.

As I said in my post, we don't know what we believe as far as religion. I am confused myself so I can't really say if there is or isn't a heaven. I want to teach my kids to believe whatever they want to.

Quoting lucky2Beeme:

OMG no never go with Sleeping~~~~your child will be afraid to go to sleep.

If you believe in God you can say god to Peppere to live with him.He needed him. I told my sons 4 and 5 that my gramma went to heaven because God needed er.She was a great cook.So they assumed she cooked for God.

Keep it simple less said the better.IMHO.



Luvmylilmonkies
by on Jun. 3, 2010 at 9:09 AM

Keep it short and sweet. Just tell him that people die and it won't happen until he is very old. He's too young to really get it. They're concrete thinkers at this age... he was here one minute, now he's not. My 3yo told people my FIL fell into the ocean and was eaten by sharks :)

mommyclarice
by on Jun. 3, 2010 at 9:10 AM

My Grandma dies just after my daughters 3rd birthday and they were very close, and it was very sudden.  I told her the truth, That Great Gram went to heaven to be with great grandpa and when she asked what happened I told her that her heart broke. (She had a Masive heart attack)  But that she was in a better place and that whe would always be with her in heart.  To this day when it rains my daughter starts talking about my grandma and how much she misses her.   I know your situation is different than mine, but the truth is good.

 

jacejenkins
by on Jun. 3, 2010 at 9:10 AM

I agree that you should not use "sleeping" as a way to describe death especially if the child will be there for the burial.  Don't use vague terms like "he was sick"  because next time you get a cold, your child may very well think you are going to die.  Give the sickness a name, if it was cancer, say cancer.  I explained death to my son at that age in simple clear terms.  When his grandpa died of cancer....I reminded my son of how sick grandpa was and how he was suffering.  I explained that the cancer caused his body not to work anymore and he died.  Grandpa doesn't hurt anymore, he doesn't need to breathe or eat.  Now we will honor him by burying his body that he doesn't need anymore at the cemetery.  You should also explain how some people will be very sad and cry a lot.  Some children get more upset by seeing adults crying than anything else. 

My son was 4 years old when his grandpa died.  They were very close.  When we went to the funeral home my son climbed into the casket with his grandpa to kiss him goodbye. 

MarShy740
by on Jun. 3, 2010 at 9:12 AM

That is what my Mother told my little sisters when there Grandmother Died (we have different fathers) She told them they want to Heaven and didnt really have much of a problem with it

Jaye677
by on Jun. 3, 2010 at 9:43 AM
My father died last year and I told my DD's 1,2,&5 that grandpa went to heaven and that he will always be watching over us. It was hard on all of us, but this helped them deal better. I personally believe he is in heaven, but whether u believe or not, it's better to say something along those lines to be a comfort. My girls still talk and ask about him often telling me that they want grandpa to come back, but I just explain that once someone dies that they can't come back he is watching over us, and we remember h by pictures and talking about him.
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momsbabies
by on Jun. 3, 2010 at 9:51 AM

My son was 3 when my father died.  They were very close, saw each other ever day and his death was very sudden.  He had a stroke.  DS was very worried because mommy was crying so much.  I had to explain to him that I was crying because I was sad I would never see my daddy again and that I loved him very much.  I told my son that grandpa is all around us and even though we can't see him he can see us.  He will play games with us, and sing silly songs, and eat dinner with us we just won't see him.  My DS is 7 now and still makes sure grandpa has a place to sit at the table when we have a dinner for a special occassion.  He even puts his picture on the chair.  I did tell him that he is in heaven and it is wonderful there and he is happy watching us from his new home.

Acid
by on Jun. 3, 2010 at 9:53 AM

This is way off topic but are some of your family of French decent?  My husband had a pepere too.

As for death, if you believe in God then you can tell him God needed him to make heaven brighter and happy.

If you don't then you can tell him his body was old and sick and it couldn't live anymore.

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