Dd was worried about me dying - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 03-01-2012, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dd has seen dead bugs and a couple of dead birds and was q. intrigued by the dead birds, which is probably normal at her age. She is 5. She was asking about death at that time - around a year ago, and I answered it matter of factly. I have heard her say sometimes she doesn't want grandmother to die because she loves her etc. Last night she says she doesn't want me to die, not even when I am old. So, I told her she might not miss me because she'll have kids of her own and she'll be busy feeding them and giving them baths and she'll have their daddy with her and that I wasn't about to die any time soon. But, obviously she couldn't picture herself as a mother and was getting v. upset that I will die some day and that she'll miss cuddling with me.  I obviously didn't want to scare her but I didn't know what else to do other than tell her the truth. 


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#2 of 9 Old 03-01-2012, 12:37 PM
 
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My 3yo has also talked about death on a number of occasions, and frequently mentions that she doesn't want to die and she doesn't want me to die.

 

I also try to answer matter-of-factly, but I also change the subject. I don't know how to explain death to her, and I don't want her to spend her childhood worrying about it. She knows that she has a grandma (my mother) and a grandpa (DP's father) who died before she was born, so I understand why death is on her radar. And as she gets older, I'll figure out ways to help her understand more. But for now...I just try to distract her.

 

I'll be interested in hearing how others handle this issue.


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#3 of 9 Old 03-02-2012, 08:41 AM
 
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I'm not sure I have anything practical to offer but I've been through this with my children. I did lose my father when ds was 2yo (they'd only met once) and I was pregnant with dd. I was a late in life baby so my father was in his 80s when he passed (I was 29). Dd asks if I'm sad that my daddy died (yes), then says that she doesn't want me to die because she'll miss me and be sad, then I'll say that my father was very old when he died(83) and my mom's mother was very old when she died(84) so I'll be very old too (probably shrug.gif) and she'll be all grown up. I do try to distract her after answering and get involved in something more cheerful. I was a bit preoccupied with my parents dieing when I was young as they were older than most parents and to me my dad looked it (big bald spot with gray hair and beard).

 

I read something once where a mom explained death in terms of the life cycle of flowering plants--wish I could remember where.


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#4 of 9 Old 03-03-2012, 10:16 PM
 
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the most fascinating part of this is this is something they have to go thru.

 

give her lots of empathy.

 

but she will come to the conclusion that hey its ok. even if mommy dies i will still be ok.

 

its a kind of emotional growing up - an emotional maturity that happens. mourning is the most important part of it. its almost like they have to go thru the pain of their fears before they get out of it. 

 

the key is to just listen to them and not try to 'fix' things. 

 

my dd keeps telling me she doesnt want me to die. but instead she'd rather die so she doesnt have to live and suffer my loss. so i tell her - oh you expect me to do so eh?!!!

 

we have both talked about our death wishes - what we both want done to our bodies and what our memorial service should look like. 


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#5 of 9 Old 03-05-2012, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I did try to just listen but I didn't want to say, "I't'll be OK" because clearly it wasn't OK in her mind.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

 

the key is to just listen to them and not try to 'fix' things. 

 

 


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#6 of 9 Old 03-05-2012, 04:02 PM
 
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no that's not for you to say, but its for her to realise herself.

 

empathy means reflecting back what the person said. its connecting with their feelings. i hear you are feeling scared. you will be surprised how much it helps them (actually anybody) if you are able to repeat what they said.

 

find out if she is scared what would happen to her. with dd i knew that was it when she asked at 3. so i asked her what she would like and we went and spoke to the people and discussed it with her so dd's concern was put to rest. but at an older age like your dd perhaps its more about the emotional nature of death - of gone. and at that stage all they want is someone to listen to them and be there as they lament. you really dont need to say anything (really check with yourself and see - is your dd looking for answers or do you feel that you need to offer her something) but just be there. there have been many many moments when i sat with dd and nodded and hugged but mostly stayed silent as she wept.
 

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Originally Posted by Neera View Post

I did try to just listen but I didn't want to say, "I't'll be OK" because clearly it wasn't OK in her mind.

 

 



 


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#7 of 9 Old 03-05-2012, 04:06 PM
 
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Conversations about death aren't easy. I would say things like "I will die some day. I'm doing everything I can to make sure I live a long and healthy life because I want to know you when you're grown up!" After several conversations like this, then my kids asked what would happen to them if I died. My conversation with ds was actually pretty funny:

 

DS: What will happen to us if you die?

Me: Daddy would take care of you.

DS: But what if Daddy dies too?

Me: You will go live with Aunt M and Uncle J, and they will take care of you. We've written it out in our will.

DS: But Aunt M and Uncle J live a long way away. How will we get there?

Me: Well, someone, probably Aunt M2 and Uncle G will help you get there, probably on an airplane.

DS: But Aunt M2 and Uncle G would have to drive to get to us. What would happen to us before they get there?

Me: Well, someone we know would take care of you until they get to you.

DS: But how would we get their house?

Me: Well, probably a police officer or other worker would take you.

DS: Would we have to go to the police station?

Me: Maybe.

DS: What would happen if I had to go to the bathroom?

Me: There's a bathroom at the police station, you could go there.

DS: Oh, OK.

 

I swear, he was more concerned about the bathroom than anything else!

 

Once I'd been through the 'what will happen to me' conversation with each child, their fears calmed down.


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#8 of 9 Old 03-05-2012, 05:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Conversations about death aren't easy. I would say things like "I will die some day. I'm doing everything I can to make sure I live a long and healthy life because I want to know you when you're grown up!" After several conversations like this, then my kids asked what would happen to them if I died. My conversation with ds was actually pretty funny:

DS: What will happen to us if you die?
Me: Daddy would take care of you.
DS: But what if Daddy dies too?
Me: You will go live with Aunt M and Uncle J, and they will take care of you. We've written it out in our will.
DS: But Aunt M and Uncle J live a long way away. How will we get there?
Me: Well, someone, probably Aunt M2 and Uncle G will help you get there, probably on an airplane.
DS: But Aunt M2 and Uncle G would have to drive to get to us. What would happen to us before they get there?
Me: Well, someone we know would take care of you until they get to you.
DS: But how would we get their house?
Me: Well, probably a police officer or other worker would take you.
DS: Would we have to go to the police station?
Me: Maybe.
DS: What would happen if I had to go to the bathroom?
Me: There's a bathroom at the police station, you could go there.
DS: Oh, OK.

I swear, he was more concerned about the bathroom than anything else!

Once I'd been through the 'what will happen to me' conversation with each child, their fears calmed down.

LOL!! Cute.

DS is only 3yo so his thought processes are a little different. He's been asking a lot about death & we've talked -- and cried -- about it. We also talk about death in animals (especially since we recently started eating meat, he'd been vegan his whole life)... earlier today he was pretending his toy cat was dead so I made the toy pig cry & said, "I miss cat!!" Well he says, "It's OK, we can eat her." bigeyes.gif

But anyway, aside from his slight confusion... I do feel it's really important to talk about death at a young age so it becomes accepted as just part of life. No one ever discussed death with me & I had such a huge fear of death -- to the point of severe panic attacks & emotional problems during my teens & early 20's. But of course I don't want to traumatize DS by talking about death TOO much, you know? It's a hard balance to strike. We went to the lawyer to sign our wills & that was one good opportunity to discuss things.

I think you should just answer her questions and be honest & open with her. Verbally play out "what if" scenarios like Lynn said, so she can talk through her concerns. Play-acting could help too, "OK you be the Mommy & I'll be the kid & you die..." or with toys like my DS does... I really think playing is the best way kids process things.

If you have any religious beliefs regarding death, that can help too... I explained to DS that if he died, he'd go to heaven to live with Jesus because all kids go to heaven... & it would be better than all the good things in his life combined, and Jesus would give him a great big hug. And if I die, he will be very sad & miss me so much, but someday he'll die too & we'll be together in heaven. Things like that... but obviously you need to believe what you're telling her, I don't know what your beliefs, but share them with her if you're comfortable doing so.

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#9 of 9 Old 03-08-2012, 05:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. First, I am sorry to hear about your fear of death. The first death I heard about (didn't see her body) was my grandmother's at age 6 and then grandfather at age 9. And I have had about 10 other close people in my life die at some point or the other in my life. But, in spite of that I was v. traumatized when my dad died.

 

I think the role playing sounds like something we can do all as a family. First, one pretends to die, then the other... And pretending with her toys is also something that might help.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post


LOL!! Cute.
DS is only 3yo so his thought processes are a little different. He's been asking a lot about death & we've talked -- and cried -- about it. We also talk about death in animals (especially since we recently started eating meat, he'd been vegan his whole life)... earlier today he was pretending his toy cat was dead so I made the toy pig cry & said, "I miss cat!!" Well he says, "It's OK, we can eat her." bigeyes.gif
But anyway, aside from his slight confusion... I do feel it's really important to talk about death at a young age so it becomes accepted as just part of life. No one ever discussed death with me & I had such a huge fear of death -- to the point of severe panic attacks & emotional problems during my teens & early 20's. But of course I don't want to traumatize DS by talking about death TOO much, you know? It's a hard balance to strike. We went to the lawyer to sign our wills & that was one good opportunity to discuss things.
I think you should just answer her questions and be honest & open with her. Verbally play out "what if" scenarios like Lynn said, so she can talk through her concerns. Play-acting could help too, "OK you be the Mommy & I'll be the kid & you die..." or with toys like my DS does... I really think playing is the best way kids process things.
If you have any religious beliefs regarding death, that can help too... I explained to DS that if he died, he'd go to heaven to live with Jesus because all kids go to heaven... & it would be better than all the good things in his life combined, and Jesus would give him a great big hug. And if I die, he will be very sad & miss me so much, but someday he'll die too & we'll be together in heaven. Things like that... but obviously you need to believe what you're telling her, I don't know what your beliefs, but share them with her if you're comfortable doing so.


 


When the thoughts we think are the same as the words we speak, others will feel our integrity ~ Unknown
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