(When I struggle to deal with it myself)
In the four years my children have been alive a number special people in our lives have died. The Twins had been a little young to know whats happening. When I lost my Nan my twins were only two. They will have noticed she wasn’t here anymore however they don’t really remember her!
A couple of days ago however the next door neighbour of my nan (who I have known since they both moved there about 30 years ago ) died – She had been having a few health issues over the past year but had such a positive outlook! She was in her 90s and so much more agile than my nan was at 90!
As I came off the phone to my mum I realised I was crying and J & M were looking at me!
I tried to explain but I don’t think they understood!
I tried the well “Mrs G” won’t be here anymore she has gone to be with my nanny somewhere in the stars!
Can we see her they asked! – I told them that we wouldn’t be able to see her again now.
I didn’t know what to say – I think many of us are inept at dealing with death. I was talking to someone the other day who said I the olden days death was just what happened. In fact in times of poverty it was probably a bit of a relief as sick couldn’t work so therefore were a burden! These times we as family dealt with the funeral ourselves.
Nowadays that job is usually given to a funeral home so we only ever talk about death through closed doors!
I am one of those inept people – I don’t deal with death very well and therefore am a little scared of my own mortality or selfishly the mortality of people around me (what will I feel when there gone?)
So with all this in mind I want to do the right thing by my two. I don’t want them to grow up with this fear that I have and that my dad had that death is something to fear so much so that it interferes with living!
Googling how to talk to a preschooler about death I came up with many don’ts
- Don’t tell them that the person has gone to sleep – This may cause the child to not want to go to sleep
- Don’t tell them the person has gone away – Leaving the child may then be an issue as they may think you have “gone away”
- Don’t tell them the person has been so good that jesus wanted them – The child might start playing up so they don’t get chosen
- Don’t tell the child the person is happy now they have gone – the child might question why the person is so happy when everyone around them is sad!
So what do I say instead?
What do I say to my 4 year olds about where this person who was a part of our lives is now?
How do explain death to them?
If you have any words of wisdom please leave in the comments below or message me on facebook.