Would you tell your child that your grandfather died? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 09-09-2010, 01:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe this sounds odd, but my grandfather just passed away on Monday and I'm not sure what to do. I was not close with him, as he remarried 40 years ago and was really distant from our family for most of that time. He lived states away most of my life, we only saw him at Christmas a few years when I was growing up and every couple of years outside of that... and he lived in Hawaii the last year and a half of his life, so we hadn't even seen him since my kids were 6mos and 2.

I'm sad for my mom who lost her dad. I'm more sad that I'm not really sad because I didn't know him. We will probably not travel for the memorial because he died in Hawaii and no formal service is being held, just a family gathering. I have spent some time thinking about him and looking at pictures and I think I'm ok with it.

My kids are 3 and 5. They have never experienced anything death related apart from critters in our yard. Should I even tell them? It's not impacting them in anyway and since I'm not overly emotional about it, I don't want to minimize death to them and make them think it's not a big deal and we just move on with our lives.

I feel like I'm coming off as callous. I'm really not

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#2 of 13 Old 09-09-2010, 01:20 AM
 
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Yes. My son was age 4 when I told him that my grandfather, a man he had never met, died. I thought it was a good time to bring it up b/c my son had no real feelings for this family member, since there was no relationship there. It led to a great conversation about death, life, the purpose of it all, family generations, etc...
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#3 of 13 Old 09-09-2010, 01:59 AM
 
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I could go wither way, honestly. What pregnant@40 sayid makes a lot of sence. Prior to her posting I was going to say - eh, skip it. But it might help to show him pictures and just tell him that those are pictures of your grandfather and you are sad because he died recently.

My grandfather died about 18 months ago. My kids were 14, 12 and 10 at the time and the 14 yo had met him at 16 months old. That was the last time I had seen him as well. I had to explain when the plain brown box arrived in the mail. Just because I hadn't seen him in a long time didn't diminish my feelings of sadness for the loss of the connection.
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#4 of 13 Old 09-09-2010, 10:38 AM
 
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Yes I would. We did with my husband's grandmother, whom my son had met only once very briefly. We just presented it matter-of-factly.

Interestingly he seems to have developed a close relationship with the idea of her and brings her up from time to time. But it's also like a PP said led to good discussions that helped when someone closer to him died.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#5 of 13 Old 09-09-2010, 10:47 AM
 
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I agree with pps. I would tell him, and it actually convenient that you (and your kids) did not have a close relationship with him, so that you can bring up the subject without it being very sad. I think it's ok to say you're a little sad but that you didn't know him very well, and that your mother is more sad because it was her father. My great aunt died recently and I had a similar conversation with my kids (3 and 5). My mother was close with her and the kids and I had a couple visits with her in the last few years. So they knew of her but weren't attached. It let me talk about death with them (ever so briefly since they didn't have much to say about it as it turned out).
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#6 of 13 Old 09-09-2010, 10:55 AM
 
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I would - my LO does know my grandfather, we see him often and are really close.
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#7 of 13 Old 09-09-2010, 11:01 AM
 
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Yes, I would tell them. When my oldest step brother died I told my children what had happened. They had never met him and we weren't close. However, I thought they should know what the adults were talking about around them. Then they could ask questions about it. I really think it's a good thing to take opportunities to discuss death, birth, love, divorce, etc. . .it helps open that door to questions.

Barbara:  an always learning SAHM of Ilana (11) and Aiden (8) living in Belgium with my amazing husband.

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#8 of 13 Old 09-09-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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I'd probably tell them, if for no other reason than when it comes up in conversation with your mom--as it could--they'll know what happened. And they too can be sad for your mom.

Mom of two girls.
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#9 of 13 Old 09-10-2010, 01:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much! Everything you said makes perfect sense.

Heather-- I'm a <>< SAHM of two fabulous boys 8/05 and 2/07
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#10 of 13 Old 09-11-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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Maybe in this situation the focus is on Grandma's Dad dying rather than mom's grandpa or their great grandpa. You could turn it into a chance to talk about death a bit and to teach them about caring for the people they do have a relationship with who lost someone they love (ie making a card for your mom or something).

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#11 of 13 Old 09-15-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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Yes, I told my daughter when mine died, and she was about the age of your Dd. I think she has a right to know, and it's a simple introduction to death which will help prepare her for the deaths of people close to her.

My own mother often forgot to tell us kids when someone died, thinking it only mattered to her and that we didn't need to get upset about it. Eventually, though, someone close to you does die, and it's good to have some idea of what that means and different ways of grieving.
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#12 of 13 Old 09-15-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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My dd1 knows that everything sna everyone dies at some point. And she if fine with that. It used to worry her. But now she accepts that it is a part of life. She has not had anyone close to us die as of yet. Except out dog--he was hit by a car--she was very upset. That was when she was about 4 or 5 (she is now 6)-and I took that opportunity to introduce her to death. Dh didn't like it bc at first it seemed to upset her more. But I couldn't go the lying route (he ran away, etc). I didn't want her to think it was any of her fault. Ds is 3.5 and I am not sure he knows really about death. He has heard DD1 bring it up before. SO he may-but it is not something we discuss on a regular basis.

But to answer your question--IMO I would maybe use it as an opportunity to explain death. But I don't think it is a big deal if you decide not to talk about it-especially since the children didn't know him.
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#13 of 13 Old 09-15-2010, 01:12 PM
 
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Why wouldn't you? What's your hesitation?

I think it is important for kids to know what's going on in a family, and to be able to acknowledge grieving and missing someone.

But you seem to have some hesitation, so maybe your thoughts/values are different.

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