Sorry if done before - what words of 'comfort' can I offer my dc about after death ?!? (they don't believe in God and I am agnostic)

(24 Posts)
DioneTheDiabolist Sat 11-Jan-14 13:39:08

Glad to have been of help OP. I wish you and your family (and all those facing the difficulties of bereavement) strength at this time.

grin

Wallison Fri 10-Jan-14 20:56:37

Yes definitely thank you Empress. I have now saved it onto my computer.

specialsubject Fri 10-Jan-14 19:43:26

that Physicist's Eulogy is utterly brilliant - comfort without fairy stories. Thank you!

headinhands Fri 10-Jan-14 19:41:46

Hi op

I remember once being asked how I felt before I existed. "I felt nothing" I said "because I couldn't". That has stayed with me when I think about death. I wasn't waiting around in frustration before I existed physically and I have no reason to think I will be able to feel anything afterwards. With regards to the living, the memories and that pain of loss are how our loved ones are kept alive in the hearts of those who knew them. Hope you dc's feel better soon op.

Blatherskite Fri 10-Jan-14 15:00:16

I like the idea of being less orderly smile

I had this problem when my Grandad died and I had to explain it to the children. We bought a book called "No Matter What" which was soothing but not exactly what I was looking for at the time. I wish I'd bought "Badger's Parting Gifts" as I've heard lots of good things about it

Isn't it. I'm sort of agnostic ATM but the most moving funeral I've ever been to was humanist, and they said very similar things to Dione.

Wallison Fri 10-Jan-14 14:54:30

Empress, that is lovely.

hmc Fri 10-Jan-14 14:48:01

Printed off, thank you Empress - that's powerful stuff

This is the Physicist's Eulogy - I want it at my funeral. It's beautiful.

Wallison Fri 10-Jan-14 14:39:46

Also, I should add that you have worded it far better than I did, Dione. I am trying now to commit your post to memory for when this conversation comes up again.

Wallison Fri 10-Jan-14 13:57:46

I went for pretty much what Dione said, largely because it is an explanation that I find comforting myself; I feel a lot better knowing that although atoms in the universe take on different forms, there is really nothing that hasn't existed before and that nothing really ceases to exist - it makes me feel most peaceful when I contemplate it, as you get as close as most humans do to comprehending the sweep of existence, which kind of puts things into perspective. And I have found that it comforts my son when he thinks of family members who are no longer with us. Sympathies, though; it is a hard event to come to terms with.

hmc Fri 10-Jan-14 13:52:01

Oh yes he is very sad - when I first told him the vets diagnosis and implications he was convulsed with sobs as was dd. Since then (a week or so ago) he 'remembers' every so often and is upset again - which is only natural (I would worry if he wasn't upset). I find the cuddling and physical comfort bit easy, it is just the probing questions about what death means...

ouryve Fri 10-Jan-14 13:46:55

Maybe try explaining a bit about the physiology - heart beating, nervous system etc, all of which is no longer working once an animal is dead. I think you need to acknowledge your DS's sadness because I'm guessing that he's had the companionship of your dog all his life and will miss his beloved pet, terribly, even if he can't verbalise this to you.

hmc Fri 10-Jan-14 13:44:22

Crossed posts Dione - I was going for the partly scientific but got myself tied in knots. You explain it very well though!

Also taking on board everyone's comments about memory books etc

hmc Fri 10-Jan-14 13:42:09

Thank you all - and the book recommendations are definitely a good way in. I shall look for them on Amazon

Yes, I think I do need to talk about it as being 'at peace'. I did try and talk about our dog's body being used by other organisms in the soil and enter into the cycle of life that way - but ds looked horrified at this explanation, ( grin I did explain it in a rather inept way)

Thanks craftybuddhist - its sad but at least we know what is coming and are getting used to the idea. She's a lovely girl though and a big personality - she will leave a void in our home (and our hearts)

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 10-Jan-14 13:35:10

Death is not the end of existence, it is a change in the state of existence and can be confusing/difficult to explain.

The physical body is made up of atoms and molecules that come together for a short time, beginning at conception and ending in decomposition. Death releases these atoms etc and they become something else (nutrients in the ground that sustain new life etc).

However there is also an emotional or spiritual dimension to our lives and those of our pets. It is not seen and no measurement can accurately describe the impact of a life on those touched by it. Here the change is from love/comfort to memories. No one is really dead as long as they live in the hearts and memories of those they knew in life. Their thoughts, wisdom and failings have a permanent impact on those left behind. So perhaps you will want to get your DC to talk about what the dog taught them about pets, life and themselves.

Lastly, I would point out that them, the dog and indeed (if current scientific thinking is correct) the entire universe was once one tiny thing that contained all that is physical. When it ends, it will be that one tiny thing again. We all came from one and at the end, we will all be one again.

I hope this makes sense helps OP.smile

CraftyBuddhist Fri 10-Jan-14 13:10:57

This is a topic which is hard for adults and children alike.

I admire you for facing this head on with your children- having it talked about and discussed is IMHO better than leaving them to weather the worry alone.

I found the childrens book mayfly day extremely compelling. I cried a little tear.

I am an atheist buddhist. I don't believe in reincarnation as traditionally believed but more in the sense that we live on in our legacy. Encourage your boys to perhaps put a memory book together of your dog and to talk about him in the future (following their lead). Emphasise perhaps the natural flow and cycle of life.

I'm sorry for your impending loss sad.

CraftyBuddhist Fri 10-Jan-14 13:10:15

This is a topic which is hard for adults and children alike.

I admire you for facing this head on with your children- having it talked about and discussed is IMHO better than leaving them to weather the worry alone.

I found the childrens book mayfly day extremely compelling. I cried a little tear.

I am an atheist buddhist. I don't believe in reincarnation as traditionally believed but more in the sense that we live on in our legacy. Encourage your boys to perhaps put a memory book together of your dog and to talk about him in the future (following their lead). Emphasise perhaps the natural flow and cycle of life.

I'm sorry for your impending loss sad.

PiperChapman Fri 10-Jan-14 13:07:23

I also quite like emphasising that the person can live on in our memories - so they're no longer here but we can always think about all the nice memories we have etc etc

Cbeebijeebies Fri 10-Jan-14 13:00:48

Dying and that being it is a way of being at peace isn't it? Is there another way of wording/explaining that that would work for DS?

Interesting as I'm an athiest and I'm not sure what i'll say to DS when his great-grandparents pass away.

I thought it would likely be something like 'they might be dead but they're at peace/can't regret being dead as that's it. And the children they've left behind are a part of them too so in a way we are their 'life after death' IYSWIM'?

PiperChapman Fri 10-Jan-14 12:59:50

I'm not very good with words in these circumstances but I bought my 7 year old two books which we've read a lot. It really helps him understand the concept of death and that its not scary etc.

The books are 'Badgers Parting Gifts' and the other is ' Duck,Death and the tulip' .. The latter is a little ' out there ' but a really good and oddly comforting read- showing that death is always with us but in a quiet way, not a scary way.

Give them a go and I'm pretty sure they'll help open up discussion. I like both because they're non religious

hmc Fri 10-Jan-14 12:45:23

bump

hmc Fri 10-Jan-14 12:15:21

Dc are 9 and 11

This came up recently as ds was asking about our dog (who is ill and will have to be euthanized soon). I said she would not suffer after death because she would no longer exist and if she doesn't exist she cannot possibly regret the fact that she is no more....because she doesn't have consciousness or awareness

This didn't seem to quite cut it with ds (9)

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