How do you explain to your kids when someone close dies?
Our Max misses his Oma – a lot. Time has made it easier to cope and our kids love helping with the gravesite care. Physically she may no longer be there, but emotionally she is as close as ever.
Yes, I know, this is not a pleasant topic. This past weekend a close family relative lost his battle with cancer and my children – especially my son – have had to struggle with this. It is now the fifth cancer related death that we had to break to them in the last seven years. How do you best break the news to the children? When my mom passed away our Katie was about six years old and she had a play phone and “called” Jesus one day. She was not a happy camper at all. One thing our pastor told us was not telling them that the Lord takes our loved ones to a better place. For one you may give them the impression that there is this hit man going around randomly taking people away from you and the other thing is that they would have a valid argument about there being a better place other than being with their closest people.
So what do you best do with the kids? Here are a few ideas that have worked pretty well thus far.
- Tell them the truth. Do not try making up cutsy stories about why your loved one will not come back. In most cases they are more resilient than adults who carry much more emotional baggage than our little ones.
- Tell them how you feel. Guys and gals, it is ok to cry too. Sometimes it is emotionally cleansing to go all the way through the low first, which eventually will let you come out on top.
- Tell them it is ok to feel angry. There is no good answer to the question why good people have to leave us. Time is the healing element. Our brains and theirs too, will seek and find the answers that will ease our minds.
- Tell them that they are loved and that their one who passed on loves them too. Love is the ultimate positive healing force that has no equal.
- Make good use of the opportunity to come together as a family. Open up and be genuine and sincere. Show your feelings. Be amazed how people will approach you and the children offering their support.
- Make good use of calling upon your spiritual support troops. Contacting your capable religious leader who can speak with your children typically never hurts.
These were a few steps that have proven to be effective. I am counting on this helping us again this week. Time does heal all wounds eventually they say – it does not make it any easier on you though. Do you have any other ways that you have found working well for you and the children? Please share.