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Hi there. I found it difficult to get what it was you are after from your post. I understand your son is afraid of dying? Or is her afraid of you/other loved ones dying?
|Personally I would think that not talking about people who have died would do nothing to help and possibly even compound the problem if he senses a taboo.|
|I'd love to talk you out of it being a way to work through separation anxiety but I actually think you might be onto something. Sorry|
|Do you mind mentioning what religion your family practices, if any? And are you trying to make sure he shares your beliefs, or are you trying to console him in a more general way?|
|But seriously, if you feel that your child is not ready to explore this head on, then by all means, don't feel you have to. If he says he wants to live in a house with you after he dies, you can just play along and say,"I would love to do that too!" and give a hug. A more light-hearted approach would be less anxiety-inducing for the child.|
|Somewhere in the middle of that process, though, he suggested that dead people don't go to heaven they join the pirates after they die. (I think he watched Pirates of the Caribbean at Grandma's house.)|
The only death he still seems to be processing was a suicide. Honestly, we just tell him that we don't understand either. And the pain and confusion my uncle left behind because of his choice to take his own life is one of the reasons it was a wrong thing to do.
|To explain about a persons soal we spent alot of time talking about what makes a person who they are. We talked about why we are friends with the people we are friends with. We talked about what makes people special. We usually concluded that we like our friends because of who they are not what they look like. And what makes up a person is their personality not their body.|
|Basically if my kids have a question about death I answer it as matter of factually as possible. It's common to come back to it several times.
We did talk about the fact that Mom and Dad are going to take as good of care of themselves and of them to ensure that we don't die for a very long time. We talked about what would happen to them if we were to die. My kids know that my Mom and Dad will care for them if anything happens to us and they know that if Grandma and Papa can't do it their uncle will. We actually had one of those long "well what if he's not here then what" where I ended up going down a very long line of people who can care for him if something were to happen to us..
|That was a book and I don't even know if I said anything. But that is how we have handled it in the past. It was basically just keeping the lines of communication open and answering as truthfully and as best as we could when we were asked questions.|
Of course, then he still has to wonder about how his soul will like being in heaven, but maybe you could tell him heaven is supposed to be the most wonderful, perfect place you can imagine, and fantasize together about what it might be like. (If talking about heaven that way doesn't go against your religious beliefs.)
|You would be there with him, of course, and maybe he could eat his favorite foods every day, and maybe there'd be a bouncy house . . . We've had discussions about what heaven could be like - just fantasizing for fun - and the kids seem to enjoy it. (DD thought there would be crafts in heaven.)|
|The few times DD got really sad about having to die someday, I just told her that everyone feels that way. No one wants to die, and everyone wishes they didn't have to. It's one of the most difficult things about being human.|
|If you started taking him to the cemetery a lot, maybe it would bring up a lot of worried thoughts at first, but maybe soon it would start to seem pretty ordinary, and so would the idea of people dying and being buried. I'm not one of those people who claim to be at peace with the idea of dying, and unafraid of death. I'm definitely scared of it. But I enjoy walking around in cemeteries - my kids and I do that a lot - and I find it makes me feel calmer and less worried about death, not more. (But of course, I'm not 3.)|
|have a book from Amazon called Gentle Willow (it is supposed to be for kids who are dying of cancer or the like), and I really like how it focuses on the change aspect of death, but lets you have your own religion (it doesn't push any). That might be something to consider reading with your son.
I think too that having the book as a normal one on the shelf to pull out whenever is helpful with normalizing the topic of death.
I think he has copped on to the fact that death is about a permanent separation, that it happens to old people and that being buried in the ground is involved. That's why he wants to find out who is currently in danger and what exactly might happen.
HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys: 03/02; 09/04; 09/07 - and Eliana, 11/13/10!
Founder of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported birth support group and aspiring midwife.
I told my DD that dead bodies can't see or hear or think or feel anything - that they're not even really people anymore, just things like sticks that lie there without knowing anything and gradually rot into dirt. Maybe that idea would actually be less scary for your DS than wondering what it would feel like to be buried, or how he would find his way out of the grave and into heaven.
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