Parents Talk: How Do I Talk to my Kids About Death and Dying?
In this week's Parents Talk, we ask for your help in trying to explain the death of a loved one to a child.
It was a rough week at our house last week.
The night before I was to leave on one of the first real vacations away from my kids, I found out that my grandfather - my children's great-grandfather - was dying.
Call me an optimist but everything in my head said he would make it through the next week until I could make to his bedside in Wisconsin. Sadly, he passed away last Friday.
After a lot of thought, I decided to go the funeral alone. I wasn't sure it would be appropriate to bring the kids along and besides, I didn't want their last memory of their grandpa to be one of him in a box, devoid that bright smile and spark that was so uniquely his.
When my 5 year-old asked me where I was headed on Tuesday, I was honest and told her I was attending a funeral. I explained that a funeral was a time for people to share their thoughts and memories about someone who had died. My explanation seemed to suffice and she didn't ask who the funeral was for.
My question is, now that I've explained the funeral, how do I explain that it was for grandpa? This is really the first person in the family my children might remember. His illness was brief and I'd prefer it if my kids would remember him the way he was the last time we saw them.
Please leave your suggestions in the comments box below.