Pre-School and Daycare

Talking about dead relatives

(This early, I couldn't figure out a less morbid way to phrase that, sorry.)

This morning, I was talking to the boys about something my dad (who passed away 13 years ago) used to say. I've mentioned "Grandpa John" before, and they know they haven't met him, but I don't know what to say when they ask where he is, or why haven't they met him.

I kind of vaguely said, "heaven", but that's just going to lead to more questions (we aren't religious or anything, so there's no church background to fall back on.)

Any ideas? I got all choked up this morning when Linus asked. While I know my dad's idea of a joke is identical triplets, I'm sad he never got to meet them.

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Re: Talking about dead relatives

  • I just answered all of the questions ... and they asked them forever.  It took them a really long time to be satisfied.  But, it was nice that I could tell them about someone important to me that they never got to meet.  Now they know who I'm talking about when I mention him and when they see him in pictures.  I still get choked up when I talk about my Gma that passed away this summer (and talking about my Gpa that passed a few years ago really helped to prep them for her funeral, etc).  They will ask me while I'm crying and I tell them that I still miss her.  I think it's good for them to see it, as long as I'm not asking them to comfort me.  the "story" they know is that my GPs got sick, their bodies got tired and they went to heaven.  I made sure to distinguish that this wasn't anything that they could catch like a cold or the flu so they wouldn't be afraid and they seemed to understand (DD was 3 y/o at the time).  And then I answered the same questions over and over for 3-6 mos as patiently as I could. ;-) 
    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • I just say they're not with us anymore. We have a lot of family in other countries, some DD has met and some she hasn't, and I think she doesn't really distinguish right now between the ones who she will be able to meet if we travel there or they come here and the ones who are deceased and whom she will never meet. Admittedly, death is a big topic to be tackled, but so is the question of "where was I?" when she is looking at things like our wedding photos. I try to be as blunt as possible, saying things like "you weren't born yet," but I'm not quite satisfied with words like "you were in heaven" or "he's in heaven" as a way to explain what are genuinely complex concepts and I'm still looking for a way that feels "right." For now, I focus on sharing stories and memories of the deceased relatives and what they meant to me or DH, just like I share stories and memories of relatives she has actually met.
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  • WE have been through this with my kids and some of their grandparents who they are named after and never met.  OUr dog was put down last year and they know he went to heaven (we just explain heaven as a place in the sky where he doesn't feel pain, is happy, etc).  We have explained to the kids that their great grandparents are in heaven and are looking down on them.  They ahve asked if they are playing with our dog and we say yes.  We have kept it pretty simple and non-religious.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • I just say they're not with us anymore and that a lot of people have ideas about where we go after we die but no one knows for sure. My older brother killed himself the week before my son was born. I talk about "Uncle Kevin" from time to time and just if they ask I just say he's gone but mention some things that he did- like give Nadia the baby stroller they still like to push around the house.
    Nadia Irene 8/13/07 Reid Owen 8/18/09
  • I dont have a lot of supportive ideas, but wanted to say that DS is talking about death lately too. My sister said all of her kids did around age 3.5.

    DS wanted to know if Daddy was going to die and DH said "yes, everyone dies" which just turned into a big "AM I GOING TO DIE" chat which made me tear up and freak out a bit. Then DH said "It's okay, you go to heaven which is great". Ugh! 

    From here on out we will just talk about how we live a long life, until we are very old and then our body stops working and our body dies but we go to heaven to be with other family that has died.

    Ugh, I hate this topic!

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  • AH!  I'm glad you asked.  I had this very conversation with your niece a few minutes ago.  She asked who Grandpa John was and I said, "my dad.  but he died" and she said, "dads don't die" and I said "sometimes they do when they get older" and then she said, "where'd he go?" and I said "to that big golf course in the sky".  Now she's begging me to read her a book.  Kids are simple.

     

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  • imagejay-tea:

    AH!  I'm glad you asked.  I had this very conversation with your niece a few minutes ago.  She asked who Grandpa John was and I said, "my dad.  but he died" and she said, "dads don't die" and I said "sometimes they do when they get older" and then she said, "where'd he go?" and I said "to that big golf course in the sky".  Now she's begging me to read her a book.  Kids are simple.

    I suppose I should explain to them about golf, smoking, and popeye's fried chicken, eh?

    image
    How to tell my boys apart

    The different types of twins and triplets
     
    Jack, Sydney and Carynne, Annaleigh, JW, Eden...forever in our hearts.
    My blog * We made the national news!
    image
  • I have always told Griffin that Greg's dad "lives in heaven with God"... as he has gotten older he has asked more about it - when he'll get to visit them, etc... and I just tell him that when people get very old they leave here and go to heaven with God and watch down on us and smile at the nice things we do, etc...

    that has always seemed to be enough for him.

    I used to be Goldie_locks_5 but the new nest is so screwed up that I was forced to start over.
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  • imagepea-kay:
    imagejay-tea:

    AH!  I'm glad you asked.  I had this very conversation with your niece a few minutes ago.  She asked who Grandpa John was and I said, "my dad.  but he died" and she said, "dads don't die" and I said "sometimes they do when they get older" and then she said, "where'd he go?" and I said "to that big golf course in the sky".  Now she's begging me to read her a book.  Kids are simple.

    I suppose I should explain to them about golf, smoking, and popeye's fried chicken, eh?

    Exactly.

    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers Lilypie Fifth Birthday tickers
    Goblin Gallup 5k 10/30/11 - 36:46
    Turkey Trot 5k 11/24/11 - 35:14
    Festival of Lights 5k 12/31/11 - 33:13
    Love the Run You're With 5k 2/13/12 - 31:58
    Backyard Burn 5 miler 3/11/12 - 1:08:42
    Cherry Blossom 10 Miler 4/1/12 - 1:58:22
    Wine Country HF 6/2/12 - TBD
    Spartan Race 8/25/12 - TBD
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