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When to tell children about my deceased first husband

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

My first husband was killed in a car accident in the first year of our marriage.  Five years later I re-married and had 2 beautiful children.  My oldest is 8 now and we ( I ) have not yet told him or my youngest about my first husband.  It is such a large part of my life and most of our friends know my past.  My fear was that they would worry about my husband or myself dying in an accident if I told them too young, but I don't know what the appropriate age is...and how to tell him before he hears through friends or in conversation or finds photographs that are stowed away.


It would be great to hear from the expert or someone who had a similar experience.  Thank you.


post #2 of 4

Dear Bella, 


I suggest that you pick a family nestling-in time, where everyone feels included in the family circle--assess if it feels right at that moment. Give them all some lead time by saying, with confidence, that you have long had something you want to share with them all and that now feels like the right time. Check out their willingness to hear. If it's good, then tell them, as simply as possible--most kids have very limited attention times! Then wait for any questions that may emerge, check out their emotional states, and if they seem Ok with the news, then alleviate the pain with something really fun, like a pillow fight! 

post #3 of 4
My father's first wife died and I remember my mother telling me about it when I was six or so. My mom had some of her jewelry stowed away and let me look at it. We talked about how she died, who she was etc. My father has never said anything about her, which makes me sad. I had a lot of questions (I still do) so I would be prepared for your children to want to know a lot about him. Don't be surprised if they just randomly ask about him in the car or something. I suggest you try to be really open. Let them see a picture of him. Tell them what he liked to do and everything. I personally feel a special bond with my dad's first wife and I wish I knew more about her.
Im so sorry for your loss.
post #4 of 4

I second the above recommendations! Your intuition will tell you when the time is right, then just go with it within the "family circle," honoring your children's (always limited) attention spans, as was already recommended. Don't make a huge big deal of it, don't cry in front of your kids, don't scare them, just tell them matter-of-factly, "Here's what happened, just wanted you to know because it's a part of my life that I want to share with you because you are such a huge part of my life." As already recommended, be prepared to answer any and all questions even if they arise at the oddest times--short answers with long ones prepared in your mind in advance in case the kids want more info. Go easy and slow.


Best wishes,

Robbie Davis-Floyd  

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