Help me explain death and dying to a 3.5 year old... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 05-14-2010, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a cousin that is 60 and was recently diagnosed with cancer and given 6 months to live. He lives in Pennsylvania and we see him at least twice a year. He is coming to visit the family in Michigan (where we are) over Memorial Day weekend. Pretty much to say goodbye cause we probably wont see him again. I know there will be a lot of people gathering (I have a big family), but I am sure there will be tears through out the weekend and I am sure DS(3.5) will notice. I guess I am looking for some help figuring out how to explain what is happening, the cancer, etc. Anyone have any ideas? Possibly from a non-religious perspective?

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#2 of 4 Old 05-14-2010, 12:10 AM
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Prehaps just explaining that people will be sad because they will miss him. That he is sick and they may not see him again.
Unfortunately that is all I have....not sure if that is helpful.
We are not religious, but I am telling my daughters about God. And my aunt died last week. I didn't have a clue what to tell my three year old. So I said that people were sad because my aunt went to Heaven and they will miss her. She was okay with that. (I do debate whether or not I said the right thing......)
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#3 of 4 Old 05-14-2010, 12:18 AM
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I picked up several books for my then-2-year old, a mix of recommendations from the web and what I could find at Barnes & Noble:

1) When Someone You Love has Cancer, an "Elf-help" book. Seems to cover the basics to help DS understand, I've read it to him more than twice and he hasn't closed it, flipped ahead, or such. There is a little bit of mention of God, mostly saying to ask your priest or minister more. It's easy enough to adapt the wording to fit your needs.

2) Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, by Tomie dePaola. This one's an actual story, based on his childhood. The closest to religion I remember is mention of the funeral.

I had another book that talked more specifically about death, I haven't been able to find it lately. Ask at the local bookstore, and they ought to be able to take you to the appropriate section of children's books so you can pick the ones that suit your beliefs.

I've also been able to get materials from the hospice and social worker that were helping with my mother's passing, and a different hospice in my own town.

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#4 of 4 Old 05-14-2010, 10:27 AM
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I just saw this book at a safety fair today.


When Dinosaurs Die.

Looked like a good book!
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