How can I explain death to my little girl? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 05-04-2014, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Juniper, not even four yet, has been asking very direct questions about her aunty who died recently and I have been finding this difficult, even personally. Juni already had been told about my mother Lauren dying, though thankfully not the details. I hope she never asks because that will be a difficult one. She also knows about my brother dying and again, not what killed him. Same with my estranged father which I said had been ill for some time. Juni seemed satisfied with that. Only she will gaze directly at me, and this I find unsettling although obviously she's picked this up from me; I always look at people when talking.

 

But Juni's aunt was young, and very pretty. The news came first by phone and then we saw it all on television. Juni happened to be sat with her teddybear when the BBC news came on. That was when I struggled to explain. At the time, Juni just accepted it, but a month later to this day, back came these questions.

 

"Mummy,  why did aunty peaches have to die?"

Me: "Because it was her time to die." I began to feel tearful and then i couldn't stop the tears.

"Mummy why you cry?"

"Cos I feel sad." I look away then, avoiding Juni's steady gaze.

"What did peaches die of?"

omg I thought. I met Juni's eyes and said aunty had a heart attack.

"Whats a heart attack, mummy? Did aunty peaches hurt when she died?"

"She fell asleep and died," was all I could say, pressing the squawk button on my phone

 

My sisters came running in. I told them Juni had been asking about our aunt. Iona and Kitty said leave Juni with them and go make a cuppa tea.

 

We try so hard to cushion the blow on our children when family members die. Heck it was hard enough for my sisters and I. But what do you tell a bright, blue eyed little girl who has such a deep penetrating gaze, who saw me her mother in sorrowful tears? Iona gave Juni her teddybear and they went off into the garden to look at the flowers. All I could do was go in my bedroom and sob.

 

I have a counsellor who's been helping me come to terms with family death. But what should I do this coming Tuesday when I see my counsellor again? Take Juni with me and only hope she can be given answers I'm trying so hard to find?

 

I can't talk about 'peaches' as its too close to home and heart. But if there is anyone who has had the same experience, please share with me here. Thank you.

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#2 of 5 Old 05-04-2014, 07:02 AM
 
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I'm so sorry for all the loss you've experienced.

For me, the general rule when talking with my kids about subjects that might be too mature or upsetting for them is to only answer the questions they ask, without giving extra information. From what you wrote, it sounds like you did exactly that. Hugs to you.
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#3 of 5 Old 05-04-2014, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Limabean. It's reassuring to be told I am doing okay with Juni.  :)

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#4 of 5 Old 05-05-2014, 07:17 AM
 
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I'm sorry; that must be very difficult to deal with. Was Juni close with her aunt? Was there anything special that they liked to do together, or any particular stories that Juni remembers about her? I know it sounds trite, but maybe it would help her to work through things by drawing or writing (narrating to you) some stories about their times together. 

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#5 of 5 Old 05-05-2014, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macandcheese View Post
 

I'm sorry; that must be very difficult to deal with. Was Juni close with her aunt? Was there anything special that they liked to do together, or any particular stories that Juni remembers about her? I know it sounds trite, but maybe it would help her to work through things by drawing or writing (narrating to you) some stories about their times together. 

 

Juni was close, for she and I spent summer holidays with our aunt and such loving happy memories remain. What I have already begun doing is make a scrapbook with Juni because this practical side of cutting out magazine photos and sticking our holiday phots with auntie, along with Juni drawing pictures in coloured crayons and pencils is helping my little one relate her sorrow in such a sweet way. It's not trite your suggestion. In fact I think it's a very good suggestion we could set about writing some stories and short poems about our beloved aunt. Thank you for what you wrote. It means so much to me. :) 

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