HOW DO YOU TELL 4YO ABOUT DEATH??? Please help me! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 01-24-2003, 12:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi guys....I just got word that my grandfather (ds's great grandpa) will most likely not make it through the night due to kidney failure and pneumonia....my question is, how do i tell my almost four yo ds about this....? he is sleeping now, but when morning comes, or when the time eventually comes.....dear god...i've never experienced a death to someone close to me before, so i don't even know how I'm going to react...he and I were very close, he and ds close as well. DS knows he was sick, but this is a whole other ball park....any ideas on hpow to explain trhis....any books, etc...? Please, any help is much appreciated.
thank you all, and blessings to you and yours.
-Kelly\


ps-please forgive the typos, i am shaking as i write this....i'm going to copy and paste this in other threads....

Kelly, mama (12yoDS), doula, RN, and writer.
There's no where you can be that isn't where you were meant to be, its easy
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#2 of 7 Old 01-24-2003, 05:28 AM
 
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Oh, I'm so sorry for you and your family ((((hugs)))).

When my dad died last year my youngest dd was a year old. The day after he died my dd woke from her nap pointing upwards saying "papa, papa". I knew he had somehow given her the knowledge that he had gone.

I don't know what words to give you as I don't know your beliefs but for me, I told dd that God felt it was time for papa to live in heaven. I told her heaven was a wonderful place filled with happiness and love and that we would see papa again when God decided it was time for us to join him.

I always talk about my dad and brother so she seems very comfortable with the fact that they're in a good place. Nothing to be sad about, but rather happy, although I share with her at times that I miss them.

I'm not sure if you can use any of this but I hope it helps. Again, I'm sorry.
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#3 of 7 Old 01-24-2003, 01:53 PM
 
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I find it amazing the way kids accept what parents tell them,,and if a parent presents something new as a part of life, that is how children accept it.

This is a horrible time for you and your family,,my condolences. Loosing someone leaves such a hole in life for a while, then they are always missed, but the wound heals.

I would suggest explaining it as simply and truthfully as you can. Grandpa was very old, and his body wasn't working the way it needed to. This happens when people get old. There comes a time when their body stops working at all, and they die. Then the body that we knew as Grandpa is just like an old seashell, it is still there, but empty. The real Grandpa, the part inside, goes to a different place, and really wonderful place. ( as symbiosis said, I don't know your spiritual beliefs..) We will never get to play with grandpa again, he won't be coming over for dinner anymore, he is someplace where we can feel him, but we can't see him or spend time with him. But there is a tiny bit of him left inside our hearts, and we will always love him.


I really discourage you from using some of the phrases that have been used over the years that are not quite true, but the intention was good. Grandpa is not sleeping forever..so on

Hang in there...you will get through this!

Staci
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#4 of 7 Old 01-25-2003, 04:37 AM
 
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Wow! Great input!
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#5 of 7 Old 01-25-2003, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, he put up a fight....but basically there was nothing he or anyone could do....they kept him on a steadily increasing morphine drip to try to keep him comfortable. The doctors and nurses were wonderful-but I wish he couldv'e died at home. Watching his take those last breaths was horrible...we kept telling him not to be scared, that we didn't like to see him in pain, and it was okay for him to say goodbye (not literally because he wasn't able to talk). But anyway, I want to thank you all so much for your suggestions-I am going to the library to check out those books some of you recommended-ds is with daddy right now and I guess I'll tell him tonight-the viewing is tomorrow. Thank you all for your support and compassion.
Best Wishes and Gratitude, Kelly

Kelly, mama (12yoDS), doula, RN, and writer.
There's no where you can be that isn't where you were meant to be, its easy
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#6 of 7 Old 01-25-2003, 06:20 PM
 
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I am sorry...I am glad you were able to be there for the end. I know that down the road you will cherish that memory. I worked in an assisted living facility, and was blessed to be there when a few of my "people" passed away. Now as a doula, I see that those moments when life slips away are just as sacred as moments when that life is released from its mothers womb. It is so much the same sort of hold your breath moment. When it is someone you love dearly the pain sometimes gets in the way of seeing the sacredness of it, but in time this changes.

You will be a great mother to your daughter through this time. Knowing that there is a viewing, I would suggest you consider taking her,and explain that it is Grandpa's shell still there. Sometimes when a child never sees the body, it still feels like that person just went away.

Ack! Sorry to go on,,but this all has just brought back helping my daughter through her first loss, she lost a dear friend who choked to death on a hot dog of all things,,when she was in third grade. It was so painful to go through it all with my daughter, and probably would not have attended the funeral if the school counselor hadn't suggested it,,it was an open casket, which I think was really helpful to the children.

Remember to take especially good care of yourself through this time...nap, do something nice like soak in the tub for half an hour with a good book..you need lots of care while you are giving it to other people...
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#7 of 7 Old 01-26-2003, 01:55 PM
 
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I would also share your feelings with him, how you are sad, and cry with him if that's what you feel. It is so good for our children to see us work through our emotions, and give ourselves the space and time to that we need to mourn. Very healthy. More than any "explaining" I think the emotions are up right now. You can always "explain" later. Blessings to you and your family.

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