Explaining death of a loved one to children

Home Forums Pregnancy Loss, Bereavement & Depression Explaining death of a loved one to children

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 45 total)
  • Author
  • #15729

    my heartfelt sympathies to you and all your family.x


    Has anyone got any suggestions for explaining death to children in the least traumatic way? Have you lost someone close to you and gone through this with your children and maybe have some advice about it?

    We have to tell our children some very sad news about a much loved grandparent who is very ill at the moment and is going to pass away very soon – maybe within the next few days. We are finding it hard to find the right words to tell them. We want to tell them enough that they understand but not too much that they get very upset. Its a tricky balance to find.

    When they see me crying they get very upset so I am trying not to cry around them but I am devastated – so that’s proving very difficult.

    Should I let them see me cry or not? I don’t want to upset them but also, should I let them see that this is a hard situation for us to deal with and that crying is a natural part of that?

    Every time we talk to them about it I start crying and that upsets them We want to be honest but also, not upset them too much. They are 9, 7 and 5. Thanks for any suggestions.

    I am an emotional mess today – so hope that I am making sense here.


    Oh im so sorry too hear that.

    Kids can be tough. I dont know what to advise as each child is different. I can only tell you my own personal story about my niece and my nephew, they were 6 and 6.5 when my dad died.
    My sister had collected her 6 year old daughter from school and was calling up to visit my parents, when she came across a very traumatic scene at my parents house. I was doing CPR on my father and there was no Ambulance free, we did get one 40 minutes later, but after 3 999 calls for help they sent a fire truck up to assist me with CPR. The Paramedic Firemen took over…. my sister, my dh (then my boyfriend) my brother and some of our friends had gotten news and they all worked in the village so they rushed to the house. The road was blocked with cars, firetruck etc…. then my sister arrived with Nicki in the car, she got in such a panic she jumped out and ran for the house, locking the poor child in the car 😆 😆 😆 (we never let her live that down)
    Nicki was taken to the neighbours house and I told her that Grandads heart was sick and stopped working and he might not make it, he might go to visit holy God. She was upset, i told her that he would be happy as his own Brothers and mammy and daddy were up with holy God. She got to attend the funeral and was a bit part in it, she even sang a song at the mass.
    My nephew 6.5 was protected and wasnt allowed to attend the funeral, the poor child was heartbroken and it took him a very very long time to get over his grandad dying. I dont know if it was a boy/girl thing or the fact he was protected from what was really going on. He did ask was grandad dead and his mother said she didnt know!!!
    I would think being honest and show your emotions, its not wrong to cry. It does break their little hearts, just like ours, but they need closure and a time to say Goodbye. We celebrated my fathers wonderful life and we laughed and joked about him, we did shed our tears too. We did get alot of questions about the hole in the ground, we told them its a magic lift to heaven x
    Sorry for the long post, but even after the raw emotion Nicki went through she got over the death easier. Thinking of you xx


    You are all in my prayers…..

    It is so hard hun…. kids don’t understand the depths of the emotions that we do as adults…. but I feel that while you can shelter them from a lot of it… they are clever too. They will know what is going on around them, and acting like it isn’t happening wouldn’t help them either. You all just have to take one day at a time. You and DH have your private grief to deal with, yet, you are trying to be so strong for your kids. Having them see you cry…. I think is completely natural…

    I believe that when someone passes on, they are "promoted to higher service"… and the way I would deal with it is that God is our daddy in heaven…. and when we are born we do our best to live each day as best as we can, and at some stage God says that we have done our best and we have done our job here on earth, and then we get to go home…. and even though that grandparent can’t be seen every day… we get to keep talking to them in our prayers and they live in our heart…. and they will still be there…. IT all really depends on your personal views on faith, religion and beliefs, and what you in turn want to teach your children…. Let them know that it is okay to be sad, it is okay to cry, and it is okay to talk about how they feel and that talking about the loved one isn’t something that they shouldn’t do….let them talk, let them and yourselves grieve….

    You know where I am… if there is ANYTHING I can do for any of you….xxx


    chewie i love your take on it – mmust remember that next time the conversation comes up here.
    SAbbi so sorry to hear you’re giong through this but i think honesty is the best policy – obvioulsy you’re not going to let the kids see you distraught but i don’t think its wrong to let them see you upset, let them know it’s ok to be upset, you’re sad because you won’t see the person again and while they’ll be out of pain etc you’re sad and that this is ok. Our dd1 was only 2.5yr when her nana died and obviously alot went over her head but I was as honest as possible she knew nana was ill and the while the drs have tried their best they just couldn’t make her better and it was time for her to go back to holy god, we went to mass and i let her light a candle etc.

    Thinking of you and yours xo


    Not sure I have any good advice on this really but I just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you at this difficult time & hoping that in time the pain & sorrow wont be as raw as it is right now.

    Kids seem very resiliant to me & i think the truth is important cos if they dont know that they have gone to heaven,they will keep on expecting to see them & wont understand.I think you shouldnt hide your crying either as otherwisethey may think they are not allowedto cry & be upset about the death either.

    Take care of yourselves & will be thinking of you in the coming days,Big Hugs x


    Sabbi – Sorry to hear your sad news.
    Thinking of u all..x

    Be truthful to your children , we expereinced death to a loved one last Easter, We were told to be truthful with our children and talk about the whole time, they will grieve too..My dd was 10 and my ds is 14 and have laughed and cryed with us, through this whole time..
    They were involved in the mass and funeral..
    My6 yr old niece was the same too

    My brothers daughter 3 – knows her daddy is in heaven and visits the graveyard on a weekly basic, she is always looking for Angels to put on his grave..
    We all have pictures of him.
    There is good programmes in all primary schools to help children deal with death, talk to the teacher or principal they will arrange it

    Drawing pictures normally help children cope best
    All the nieces and nephews put pictures & letters into the coffin with my brother

    Be Strong


    Thanks for the advice. we told them that Grandad is not going to get better and that was very difficult but we had to tell them because we have been upset about it and they knew something was going on. They kept trying to convince us he would get better so we explained he is too sick and they seem to understand it now.

    We are not bringing them to see him, it would be too hard for them to see him like this.

    We are kind of in limbo at the moment, waiting for the inevitable to happen. So awful, he is in his 60’s and its very hard to take in.

    Very sad. 😥


    *** hugs ***

    Baby steps hun…..x It is so hard, my mom was only 56… sudden stroke, so I totally understand the shock…
    My heart goes out to all of you….
    The Rainbow club at the school will be able to help the kids…. in an environment where they feel safe….

    Thinking of you all x


    I am very sorry to hear this Sabbi…

    I can only echo what the others have said..speaking to them honestly and explaining everything simply is the best option.

    When our baby daughter died we just had to explain everything in honest terms to her sister who was 8 at the time so was able to understand most things. We also involved her in lots of decisions at the time..choosing poems for the funeral etc etc.

    It is also important to show your own emotions but reassure the kids with a cuddle at the same time and tell them its normal to cry and be sad when someone dies..

    Avoid saying things like Grandpa went to sleep..this can be confusing and worrying for a younger child who may think the same might happen to them when they sleep.

    Children are very resilient and often are quite matter of fact about this.

    Hope youre ok ..thinking of you xx


    thinking of you guys sabbi xo


    Sadly, my father-in-law passed away today. He was surrounded by loved ones and went away peacefully in his sleep, for which we are thankful.

    We are all very sad about it, the whole thing happened so quickly. He only went into hospital 11 days ago so its quite a shock to us all that he is gone from us. He was a big man with a huge personality and was extremely kind and loving and absolutely doted on his grandchildren so we will miss him enormously.

    I sat the children down this afternoon and explained to them that he is gone to heaven now and is with his own parents and they will look after him. They were very upset but are handling it quite well.

    We have a few tough days ahead but we’ll get through it. Thankfully, we have great family & friends to support us.

    Thanks for all your kind words & wishes. x


    So sorry for your loss… x My love to you all. x


    Sorry to hear this sabbi, it sounds as if your children had a very special relationship with their grandad, the type that will live on in memories for a long time. Thinking of you all x


    so so sorry to hear this sabbi – thinking of you xo

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 45 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.