Mt Step Dad died overnight, my Mum phoned me early this morning, I took my boys to school aged 5 & 10 without telling them, I just gritted my teeth so I did not cry and left my youngest with a friend just outside the school gates. I just needed to take it in and deal with it before telling anyone, he'd been ill for a long time.
My boys have never had a death in the family before (I have) so I just need some advice on how to tell them. Shall I pick them up early from school? Or just keep in normal at pick them up usual time? I don't think I can face the playground. What should I say that will make it easier? I feel like I need some sort of script if, you know what I mean.
My parents did it with me (similar age to your oldest, very similar situation): after school, sitting round the kitchen table (not in playground/public). Very clear that grandma has died and that it's fine for ALL of us to feel really sad. Lots of hugs, tears, talking about how unfair and wrong it was, then eventually about all the stuff we had loved and would miss. It's never nice to hear the news, but looking back I think they dealt with it really well. Don't feel you need to "be strong", they need to see that you're grieving too. Don't be surprised or upset if the little one only cries for a minute then goes off to do something else - 5-year olds respond differently.
I hope your day goes ok, bereavement is a horrible thing to go through. Take care xx
Sorry, just realised I haven't answered your questions. If you cannot face the playground do you have a friend who could pick them up and drop them home for you? Or I would imagine if you rang the school office and explained the situation they would be okay with them going 5 mins early. In terms of a script, I would sit them down and say you have something important and serious to say. And that as granddad/grandpa had been ill for a long time he has now died. Say how you feel. Let them say how they feel if they want to (don't force them). If the little one asks questions, even if these seem insensitive, then answer them. And apart from that I think you have to take the lead from them. I hope you're ok.
PS (sorry, should have written this all as one post) - if this is the kind of thing you're into, there is a fantastic book by Michael Rosen called Michael Rosen's Sad Book which is all about his son dying. The biggest message is that it's okay to feel angry, sad, upset - you feel robbed of someone you love. Too hard for the little one, but your elder child and you might get a lot out of it. Rooble x
Thanks so much Rooble, I've had a good cry this morning and have decided I will pick them up as normal, I will be OK in the playground and I don't want them to worry if I picked them up early and wonder what was going on, I will tell them after school at home, just as you have suggested, simple and honest. I think they may have Friday off school, see how they feel. DH went to London at 7am this morning and will be back later tonight, he knows and is OK with me telling the boys without him here. Thanks for your advice, very appreciated.