trying to explain death - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 03-28-2006, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not sure where to post this. If it needs to be moved, mods, please feel free.

My mom died last May. At the time, dd was just two (25.5 months). I just told her "Mee-maw's gone" at the time. It seemed to be enough of an answer for her.
Now, she is entering the "why?" phase and asking lots of questions in general. Today she asked me where Mee-maw was and why she was gone.
I am having a very hard time explaining. I don't know why she died, honestly.
I read someone else here explaining it as her body "stopped working," and I think that sounds pretty good. I don't want to use "sick" or even "broken" because Maddy herself broke her arm and of course she has been sick. I don't want her to equate those things with death.

I said that we cannot see Mee-maw any more. Bless her heart, she said, "Oh," after every lame mini-explanation I tried to give.

I just don't know how to answer why Mee-maw is gone.
Any advice?
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#2 of 9 Old 03-30-2006, 01:27 AM
 
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on your beliefs. Personally, I would tell her that Grandma went to live with God and grandpa, too (or any other dead relatives) and that she can still talk to her in her prayers.....maybe that would be comforting?
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#3 of 9 Old 03-30-2006, 11:40 AM
 
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I found that I needed to be really clear about my own beliefs about death and then I just simplified it.

I told my kids that their grandpa's body stopped working. I told them that we all live on the earth for awhile and when our soul is done living here, our body stops working and our soul leaves to go back to the spirit world.

I have told them that it is possible to talk to spirits/souls, some people can see them, some can hear them. Grandpa always watches us, he sees everything we do and he still loves us as much as we love him.

The kids often say that they wish he was still here or hadn't died and I say I feel that way too.

Sometimes my kids ask technical questions about how his body stopped, where he died, where his body is, etc. Sometimes they ask about other things like souls and spirits.

If you know what you believe it makes it easier to simplify it and explain it. The questions keep coming and get more tricky as they get older, so if you are clear about it now, it will help.
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#4 of 9 Old 03-30-2006, 02:25 PM
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My whole childhood, my parents kept information about death and serious illness away from me, causing me to be very worried and upset about it when it did happen. To help my own child, age 3, see death and illness as parts of life, we are being very honest about it with her. She is named for my grandmother and her grandfather, both dead. Based on our own personal beliefs, we have told told her that they were very old and got sick and their bodies no longer worked well enough to keep them alive. We told her that humans have a body we can see and a soul or spirit we cannot see but can feel. The body can be buried or burned and ashes scattered but the soul lives on. We also preface things with "some people believe" the soul goes to heaven, others believe the soul lingers and becomes an angel who is invisible but helps us. Others believe the soul is born again as a new baby. I tell her that I believe her grandparents' souls are in heaven which is a place beyond the clouds, a place we cannot see or visit but that exists because we believe it does. We can feel our grandparent's warm embrace when we think about them fondly and that is their spirit hugging us and gently reminding us that they love us and that they are ok.
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#5 of 9 Old 03-31-2006, 12:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your thoughtful answers. Maybe I did better than I thought I did....I guess the worst part was not being able to answer why Mee maw died.

I did tell her that even though we can't see her any more, Mee maw still loves us very much and we can talk to her and think about her whenever we want. She cried a little. Like she gets it. I don't know how to explain but when I talked to her again and added the 'body stopped working right' thing and repeated some of what I'd already said I think she understood better.

Thank you again, I really do appreciate it.
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#6 of 9 Old 03-31-2006, 01:12 AM
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I have told them that it is possible to talk to spirits/souls, some people can see them, some can hear them. Grandpa always watches us, he sees everything we do and he still loves us as much as we love him.

Be careful with that. I told DS the same thing about my Granny when she died last May and he FREAKED OUT. He was 4 at the time and somehow became convinced that she was haunting us or something. He was terrified of even seeing her pictures for awhile because he thought she was watching him.
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#7 of 9 Old 03-31-2006, 05:48 AM
 
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I have had two children die. A little girl who is a twin to my 4 yr old while I was pregnant with them and our son who died when he was 4 month 1 week who is the twin to my 2 yr old. Because of my children's exposure to death and birth. It is a matter of fact for them. They experienced the death of 2 siblings, the birth of other siblings and the homebirth of our 6 month old. My little ones still ask why our son died. I tell them that he was born in a body that was not healthy and it was his time to go back home to Heavenly Father. My children occasionally see their siblings even now and ask me for confirmation of what they experience. I tell them that there will be times through out there lives when they may have their siblings or grandparents that have died around when they really need them because no matter if we are alive or dead we are still family and we still love and care about one another. I find that if I validate their experiences and focus on the fact that we are all still family they seemed to be conforted and strengthened by it. There are still the tears and that is normal and healthy too.
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#8 of 9 Old 03-31-2006, 11:37 AM
 
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My mom (age 84) died from cancer last summer. She'd been diagnosed only 5 weeks before. My daughter was a couple of months past 3.
We had kept her at her house and used hospice. We were all at the house later on the day that she had died. After a while, dd asked "where's Grammy?" We said "Grammy died". She repeated it, then went back to playing. About 30 minutes later she asked "what does died mean?" I took her into the bedroom and she laid on Grammy's bed. I explained that Grammy had gotten very, very sick and because her body was old she just couldn't get better. I told her that Grammy had been very happy to have the chance to know her and that even though we couldn't see her anymore she would always be here (tapped dd's head) and here (tapped her heart)...moment of panic when she said "Grammy's in my HEAD?!" But I quickly explained that she could always close her eyes and think of Grammy, and she'd be there. She was cool with that and asked if she could jump on the bed. LOL
About a month later she said "Grammy's dead, right?" I said yes. Then she closed her eyes, said "hi Grammy", then, in a really odd voice said "hi". She popped her eyes open and said "she IS there!"
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#9 of 9 Old 03-31-2006, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mama8

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Originally Posted by StellasMommy
About a month later she said "Grammy's dead, right?" I said yes. Then she closed her eyes, said "hi Grammy", then, in a really odd voice said "hi". She popped her eyes open and said "she IS there!"
That's really cool.
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