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BURNINGEMBER SparkPoints: (10,999)
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7/21/11 1:52 P

I found that being matter of fact with my oldest son worked best when his father's and stepmother's mothers both died within a few months of one another, both of cancer that no one had explained to my son. He was left very confused and terrified of cancer until I explained that his father had elected NOT to tell him beforehand, a decision I disagree with but respected as his decision. It is important for children to know that death is a part of life, and different spiritual paths have different ways of approaching the subject. The simple truth is that our bodies only work for so long. Many people feel that the part of us that thinks and feels continues on, but explaining that in a way that young ones can understand and not be frightened is a challenge. Belief as to the existance (or not) of an afterlife is highly subjective, so that is your judgment call to make in regard to what it is that your family believes.

CUDA440 SparkPoints: (65,523)
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7/20/11 5:07 P

my boys were 4 and 2 when their grandma passed. They had no idea what it meant either. We tried our best to let them know that she can not come back. She can see everything you do. If you feel sad you can grab one of her pictures here on the shelf and look at it, or you can talk to your stuffed animals cause she is always listening. We also never brought them to the services, cause I didn't want them to remember her that way. Others have told me that is what they remember the most and not much else. SO we talk about things they have done with her. I have told them it's like she is invisible.
I also have mentioned at times, that it does happen to everyone, we just don't know when it will.
The sad part is now at times I am afraid that before they had no fear, and now even more. Cause now they say they can see her, and be with her.
Just take it one question at a time. I know it's hard, but you will come up with something.

Beckie

HARDROCKER1 SparkPoints: (2,070)
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7/20/11 4:19 P

There is an awesome book out there for kids called "The Fall of Freddie the Leaf" it explains death so eloquently and so well, no matter what religious faith you are, this book covers it all.

Blessings, Michelle

P.S. I was young when my grandpa died and one thing all us grandkids did was to put a picture in his suit jacket pocket of each of us with him, our favorite pictures, so we felt close to him always. Then, we "kept him alive" in our memories, something that we do every holiday, we talk about things we remember, we do that with each of our deceased loved ones, it is a great way to memorialize them and makes the pain a bit less.

MYREALANA SparkPoints: (28,988)
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7/19/11 3:11 P

My grandmother died last summer and it was hard to explain to my then 7-year-old son.

We didn't take him to the funeral, or the viewing before hand, but we did take him to the memorial service at her church that was held later.

At first, he didn't understand why he wouldn't be able to see Mammaw any more. She had been sick for a long time, and we told him that her pain is gone, and she is at peace. He asked a few times if she would ever come back. We just kept reminding him that she was in heaven and she couldn't come back - that she loved him, and she would want him to remember her the best way he could.

At the memorial service, he cried a little, but he held up pretty well. When we were passing around the microphone, he asked to say a few words. He said she always loved to play games, and that she told him he could eat dessert first.

When he brought home his writing journal from 2nd grade, I found a lot of the entries from the beginning of the year mentioned that his Mammaw had gone away forever. Sometimes, he wrote sad things, but more often he wrote about the good things. As the year went on, the entries moved on to normal little boy things.

I suggest that you have the boys write out some of the good things they remember about their grandfather. Let them work it out. Plus, they get some extra practice writing, which kids at that age can always use. Have them draw pictures about him, or something, if they can't get the hang of writing it out.

Also, be prepared for some difficult questions. Once Liam realized that Mammaw was actually dead, he started to worry about everyone else. He wanted to know what would happen if Mommy and Daddy died; if he died; when he would die; what it feels like to die, etc. My advice is to be as honest as you can, while reassuring them that most of the people in their life will still be around for many, many years.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 16,259
7/19/11 9:29 A

"We told them today but they can't understand why he had to leave"

Why DID grandpa have to "leave"?
Was he sick? If so, you explain about terminal illness or bodies wearing out.
Was it a sudden accident? If so, you explain that.
Be direct and be simple.

Also, leaving implies he can return. I would not use that word.

I am surprised this is their first brush with death.....

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (105,088)
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7/19/11 8:14 A

I totally understood the concept of death well before the age of your children. Maybe a religious officiant can explain.

SCRAPMOM6 SparkPoints: (0)
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7/19/11 3:18 A

My boys grandpa died last night. We told them today but they can't understand why he had to leave. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to help my boys deal with there feelings about this.

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