Tag Archives: communication

Talking to Kids about Death

hopeHello!

How are you all? I apologise for the blunt title, it is a heavy topic, but unfortunately it is on my mind.

Recently a little girl we knew around the same age as my twin girls died. It feels horrific to type that. I want to find a nicer way to say it. She had leukemia, recovered, relapsed and I guess further treatments were unsuccessful. She passed away. It is terribly, terribly sad. It really is unimaginable.

She was a beautiful little person, we knew her through a mutual activity. We didn’t know her really well, but she lived near us and we used to see her around quite a lot. I had just been thinking that I hadn’t seen her in awhile. The last time we saw her I thought she was doing well. It is impossible to fathom that she is not with us.

We saw her picture in the paper, as there was a funeral notice. My girls saw it too. They asked me what it was about. I started to answer and hesitated. Were they ready to hear it? Did they need to hear it? An adult family member was in the room and they cut me off and ended the conversation quickly so that conversation was diverted. The decision about whether or not to be really honest with my girls was made by someone else and I went with that.

The next day we had a similar incident. Some how the situation again came up in discussion, another adult was there and quickly the conversation was diverted and my girls questions went unanswered.

I don’t know whether or not I made the right decision. I don’t know whether or not I should have faced it head on and discussed it with them. I have no doubts this little girl will come up again in conversation. Eventually I will have to tell them.

I read an article recently (and also coincidentally) that suggested you should talk to you kids about death early. It even went so far as to suggest that you should consider purchase a pet with a short life span, such as a fish. So that kids can have a “low impact death situation” to grasp what it really means.

I don’t know what the answer is or when the right time is to explain it. No doubts it is like everything else in life, there probably isn’t a perfect or right time. I don’t know why I feel uncomfortable with the topic, I am pretty quick to be honest with my kids about most things. I know I am not alone in that feeling, if people are writing articles on “low impact death situations for kids”. I also feel somewhat ridiculous for overthinking a discussion with my kids. Imagine how the parents who lose children must feel. How do they function? How do their siblings function? They have no choice.

Death is a reality of life and unfortunately it can be tragic. I am so so so so sorry for the little friend and her beautiful family.  I have felt really upset about it since reading about it, I can only imagine how hard it must have been for those closer.

What are your thoughts? When did you first have to deal with death? Did you parents ever discuss it with you?

Jess xoxox

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