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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last night there was an accident. Dh putting the car away when our kitten got under and well, died. DD1 is 5yo and DD2 is 3yo. They still don't know anything but they will soon start to wonder where their kitten is. How do we go about explaining this accident to them. I'm sure they are going to be curious and ask many questions.<br><br>
I don't want to hide it from them because death can happen to anyone at any time and would like to guide them through the mourning and help them handle death in a healthy way, kwim?<br><br>
Please help.
 

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We had a fish die in January. DD was 2.5. I thought she would be distraught. She wasn't. She was confused. We told her that it got really sick and then died. She kept asking where the fish was, and I kept saying he died. Then DH's cousin died. It was an open casket. Daddy told her that the cousin had been very sick and died, and that it was like going to sleep for a really long time. She didn't ask about it anymore but for a month later all the stuffed animals were getting sick and dying. It was an epidemic. It was her way of working through something that she was thinking about. Funny thing is no one was ever sad about the pretend deaths, the animals were just out of play for a while, until they were revived, and got sick again. (It got creepy when, all of a sudden, all of the mommy toys started dropping like flies. The next week they were all going to the potty instead. Shift of focus.)<br><br>
I imagine at least your 3 yr old might process the death of the kitty in a similar way. Death is such an abstract concept, it's hard even for adults to get our heads around. Explain what you can in ways they'll understand, and listen to what their concerns are.<br><br>
The thing that's different between your situation and mine is that they will surely miss the kitty. We'd only had the fish a week when it expired, and she had never met the cousin before, so it was a little more detached.<br><br>
Let us know how they do....I'd be curious to know what their reaction was.<br><br>
g.
 

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I guess that the best way is to simply say that the kitten died. Everything dies sometime. You might want to also say that it went to Heaven. I had lots of pets growing up, and I learned about the concept of death early....It's just part of the circle of life. Your five year old should understand. It might not be necessary to mention that it got run over...That could be traumatic.
 

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I was just thinking that your reaction is very important. Kids take their cues from you. If you come up to them bawling they're likely to do the same. If you explain it as a matter of fact - this is what heppens in life they are more likely to be objective about it.<br><br>
I don't mean that you should teach them to hold back the tears if they are sad. I think that's an unhealthy thing our society does.<br><br>
Hmmm.....did any of that make sense??<br><br>
g.
 

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We had our new kitten get hit by a car when DS was 2. DH was at work; I was very upset myself. Our kind neighbor helped wrap up the body and dig a backyard hole. DS was there w/ us the whole time. He actually tried to crawl into the hole himself, not understanding at first.. . I took the route of telling him that Soba ( our cat ) had dropped his body and his soul/anima was now out floating through the trees, sky, etc. I told him it wasn't his ( cat ) time and that he would maybe be back as another cat, or grasshopper some time later. I couldn't sugar coat it. He seemed O.K. after that talk.<br><br>
When my FIL passed away a week or two ago DS said, "oh, so he dropped his body?". The seed had been planted and it made this huge loss more accessible to him.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>AarenLisbeth</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7938360"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">....he dropped his body.....</div>
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oooooo......I like that.....will have to remember that idea.<br><br>
g.
 

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Last summer a neighbor's dog killed DD1's kitten, and then last fall one of our dogs died suddenly. Both of this were incidents were I didn't have time to prepare, and DD1 found it very quickly what had happened. The neighbor called me about the cat, it had escaped out the dog door, and got on the fence... I was pg with DD2 and very emotional, I burst into tears the second she told me. I'm sobbing, DD1 runs over and starts freaking out because I'm crying. I explained what happened, and we sat there and cried together, she cried for a bit, and then started comforting me! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: We went to the children's museum after that to get our mind off things. DD1 talked about her kitten a lot, and would say how much she missed him. I let a month go by and then I took her to someone's house to pick out another kitten, he was too small to come home with us for several weeks but she knew he was her's. She still talks about Smokey, and how much she loved him. Obviously, she couldn't see the kitten, so we didn't go in it about burying him, and she never asked. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
Then our dog had a heart attack one am and just died on the kitchen floor, It was 9 days before DD2 was born, so once again i was very emotional. Dh was at work, and Dd1 was in the bathroom, she didn't know, so I turned on some cartoons until I could collect myself to tell her without crying again. I told her and she wanted to see him, so we sat in the kitchen with him talking about death. She wanted to help me take him out to the garage, until we could bury him that night. DD1 wanted to help DH bury him so she did, she had a much easier time with the dog's death then the kitten, i don't know if it was because there was a body and she had some closure on it or not. She still mentions Frankie, we recently moved from that house, and she was upset because we were leaving him all alone. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy">
 

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I was coming here this morning to ask something similar... our neighbor's dog went in for surgery last night to have a tumor removed. Depending on whether it has metastasized, she may not recover. Since we have no pets of our own, the neighbor's animals are very much loved by our kids and they help to take care of them, feed them when the neighbors are out of town, etc.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/notes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notes">:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It's been 2 days now and the girls haven't asked about the kitten yet. I saw dd1 sort of looking for him yesturday but since we have been so busy in and out of the house, they haven't really noticed that he's gone.<br><br>
Should I just bring it up and tell them what has happend or should I wait for them to notice that he is missing. I don't think just telling them that kity died will be enough for them. I know dd1 is going to want more details like: when? where? how? who did it? why? did it hurt? can I see him? what was kity doing? etc.<br>
I'm pretty sure she will want to see the kitten.. what should I do?
 

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I'm so sorry. HUGS I would tell them rather than wait for them to ask. Just for the trust reasons. I would also give as few details as possible and wouldn't tell them kitty got killed by the car. Maybe something like you just found her that way near the garage door or something. Knowing their pet died will give them alot to think about. I wouldn't want to add all the questions about the car and who was in the car and all that. That part isn't what is most important. I'd focus more on where kitty is now and maybe making a memorial for her instead. Just explain that sometimes animals die young, and we don't always know why and that she looked like she just peacefully went to sleep.<br><br>
Good luck and hugs to you guys.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kakies</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7946871"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Should I just bring it up and tell them what has happend or should I wait for them to notice that he is missing. I don't think just telling them that kity died will be enough for them. I know dd1 is going to want more details like: when? where? how? who did it? why? did it hurt? can I see him? what was kity doing? etc.<br>
I'm pretty sure she will want to see the kitten.. what should I do?</div>
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I would tell them, just be very matter of fact and answer their questions honestly.<br><br>
In my experience, kids pick up on the parent's feelings about death. If you treat it as a natural part of the cycle of life then your kids will to. It is sad, especially when it's unexpected and that's ok, but it's not not overwhelming or traumatic.
 

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I wanted to come back and update. Our neighbor's dog did not survive her surgery and I told dd this afternoon. I waited a couple days for the "right time" and we discussed it on the way home from pre-K today. I simply told her that I had some sad news from Mrs J, that their dog had been very sick and they took her to the vet but she was too sick for her body to heal and she had died. dd's first question was whether the kitty had been sick too and then she said it was good that they had 2 animals. She did ask for some details, such as where the dog was when she died, and overall seemed to take it in stride. We talked about how Mr and Mrs J might feel sad and she mentioned that maybe one day they could get another dog (she added "the same color, only smaller"-- this was a rather large animal!).
 

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Our cat died suddenly in January. He was playing outside right near us. He keeled over, seizing and struggling to breathe, and was dead in about 3 minutes. Ds, dh and I were all there. I was crying pretty hard and holding the cat in my arms. Ds was very shocked and was clearly upset to see me and dh crying. We talked about it at length with ds afterward, many times. I told him it was ok to be sad and cry, and to miss our kitty. But he never cried, in fact, he denies to this day that he even misses him. Makes me sad, but I guess he is processing it in his own way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This is how it went with us:<br><br>
After 2 days they still didn't notice that the kitten was gone. I decided to tell them before they asked for him or wanted to hold & cuddle him, yk?<br><br>
I told them that we needed to talk about what happend to kity. They asked and I said that he had died. They asked how?, and I said that he had an accident and his body didn't survive it. Then they asked to see the kitten and I told them that daddy had put it away in the grass field where his body could help nourish the grass, trees and so on. Then dd1 started to tell me how first the bugs and worms would eat (we have talked about decompousure sp? in the past) and then his body would become part of the soil that would nourish the grass and then the cows would eat the grass and have a nice shade under the trees, etc.<br><br>
DD1 asked me if it is a sad thing and I said that we get sad when we miss someone or something so "yeah" it is a sad thing for me. Then she talked about how cute he was and later on asked daddy to draw her a picture of the kitten. They have been telling eveyone that the kitten died in an accident and daddy put him in the grass. But they seem okay about the whole thing.<br><br>
Thanks to all for the different views on this subject and for helping me figure out what would work best for our family.
 
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