Conversation w/ DD re: Mortality — The Bump
Pre-School

Conversation w/ DD re: Mortality

Is it unusual that my DD is putting this all together at 4.5? or not? Kind of breaks my heart. DH's grandparents died in Nov. 2011 and May 2012, and she definitely remembers the great-grandma who died in May.

(out of the blue) How old was Great-Grandma LASTNAME when she died?

She was 97.

How long until I am 97?

93 years. That's a LONG time.

Will I live to be 97?

I hope so!

Why?

Because that would be a real long time.

More time to be with my mommy and daddy!! (awww....) (looks at me for a second and stops smiling)...but you will probably die first, right?

Um, yes, probably. But not for a long time.

'Cause Great-Grandma LASTNAME died before Grandma, and she was Grandma's mommy."

Yep, but me and daddy both have our mommies still! (hurries to change the subject)

I feel like she's "too little" to put this all together and understand this yet. Is she? or not?

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Re: Conversation w/ DD re: Mortality

  • DS is 4.5 and recently had a conversation about death. It sucks.
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  • She's not too young. It sounds pretty normal to me. My DD has been asking about this for a while. It's very difficult to have these conversations, but good that they feel they can open up to us about it. 


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  • DD hasn't really started asking much about it, but I bought her this book called, "God Gave Us Heaven" for when she does start to ask questions.  I like the book, it's easy to understand, but gives honest answers.  Obviously religious based, so wouldn't be appropriate for all families.
  • My kids also became aware of that concept at about 4ish, maybe 5.  I also handled it with "well, yes, Daddy and I might die before you do, but that will be a LOONNG time from now, and most likely you'll be a grownup by then."

    There did come a point (between 7 and 10) when they were no longer satisfied with the assurance that their dad and I would would live to old, old age.  They became aware of the possibility that illness or accident can cause parents to die sometimes.  Then we had to have a slightly more realistic conversation.  Generally, I have handled this by saying, "If I died, you'll feel very sad, probably for a while.  But Dad will take care of you.  Time will pass and you'll feel better.  You're a strong person, and you will be able to handle it."  One of my kids is an atheist; the other is not.  With the believer, I said what I also believe, which is "If I died, I would be in heaven watching over you, and we will see each other again."  Obviously, I didn't go into that with the atheist!  I just said, "I would always be with you in your heart and in your memory of me."
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    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
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  • Ours understood a while ago but I'm not sure when exactly.  He's 6 now (turned 6 on 9/15) and was telling my twins (3.5 years) that our new puppy will probably die before we d and that she can't live forever.  He was then talking about people dying and going to Heaven or Hell.

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  • We actually started introducing the topic over the summer after DH's grandfather, with whom we're all terribly close, was diagnosed with lung cancer. DD asks for her Poppi regularly and wanted to be able to have the words to explain to her why she can't see him anymore before DH and I are too upset to actually be coherent.

    So I don't think it's too young but do think it can be a lot for LOs to process. 
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  • DS has started in on this too. He keeps telling me that "bleeding means you're dying". I explained to him that it does not, which prompted him to ask what dying means. Since we haven't lost a family member on either side since he was 9 months old, I don't have any specific examples to give him. I tried "it means you're just not there at all anymore". Not great, Mom, but it seemed to satisfy him. I am just waiting for the day someone we know moves away and he extrapolates that to mean they died. Yikes.
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