I haven't posted in a while, but I was hoping you could help me out with this awful situation.
My father died on March 31st. He died unexpectedly and I have been devastated. We were very close, and he was a huge part of my life and my daughter's life. She is two and a half. She's very verbally apt and she speaks clearly with a large vocabulary and with well-developed sentences.
From about two weeks after my dad's death, she would occasionally ask questions about him and express sadness over missing him. I did the best I could with her questions, trusting my own gut as well as the scant advice I could garner from books, all of which said to be honest, frank, and literal- for example, not to use figurative speech like "he has gone home" or "he has passed away" because those euphemisms make no sense to a child her age, and also not to compare death to sleeping or similar because that might create a fear of bedtime. Many of her questions have been impossible to answer. When I tell her "G" died, she wants to know why. And she frequently says, "But where did G go, mama?" and then I explain again that he died, and we know of other examples of death because we have fish that have died, and that everything living dies when our bodies get old and don't work anymore, but that mommy and daddy are young and healthy and we aren't going to die now. And neither is she. And then she says, "I don't understand, mama. But where did he GO?"
Anyway, the point is- over the past few days, grief has hit her hard. She has been crying in the car and saying "I miss G, mama, I want G," and she has been saying that she is dying, that mommy is dying, that daddy is dying... she even said she is going to kill herself. Now, I know she doesn't understand what it means to kill yourself. I know she doesn't actually have the mental capacity to cause herself harm, and she probably doesn't even equate "harm" with dying. I'm not even sure where she heard the word "kill" - we are gentle people, we don't kill things, she has not seen violent television or anything- the only thing we ever kill are mosquitoes. But anyway, it really concerns me. I hate to see her pain- hate to think she feels what I myself feel, which is horrible and does actually make me think sometimes that death would be a relief in comparison to this terrible agony. And I don't want her to worry, I don't want her to think her parents are dying or that she is...
I wish none of this had happened. I wish my family hadn't sustained this loss and that my daughter had been older when she first encountered death, and that it hadn't been her favorite grandparent and someone she was very close to and loved so much. And I wish all of those things for myself, too- my dad was MY favorite person in the world and he was our anchor in life. But it did happen, and I am having trouble dealing with my daughter's grief. I want to know if there is anyone who has been in this situation, if her behavior is normal, if there is anything I can do to help her.