Dealing with a death

April 1, 2010 10:01:36 AM PDT
Over the past few years we had to talk with our children about the passing of two of their grandparents. Last weekend my aunt suddenly passed away so we had to have that difficult conversation once again.

It's always a challenge to put yourself in their shoes and try to imagine what they're thinking and how much they understand. It helps that we believe that our loved ones go up in heaven and look down on us smiling. I try to explain to them that they are no longer in pain, they no longer need a wheelchair and they are happy sitting with God. That seemed to offer some peace to the kids. But, they still had questions.

They both asked if they would see them again. I felt so sorry to say that once you go up in heaven you stay there. My six-year-old wanted to know if they can eat all the junk food they want in heaven! She also thought it was creepy that they were watching her all the time so I had to back down on that one! You never know what they're going to think or how they're going to respond!

Experts suggest you try to keep it simple and really listen to your child and address the concerns they express. Experts also say that children understand different things about death at different ages. As they grow, you may need to revisit the topic and explain again what happened to Grand mom.

I found that my younger daughter has been afraid to bring up the relatives who have passed. At dinner over the weekend, we talked about their Grand mom. She stopped me immediately fearing that it would upset my husband since it was his mom who passed. We explained that it usually feels good to remember the person and how much we love them. Hopefully talking about it will also help the kids to deal with their grief.