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How can I help my little boy deal with the loss of his grandad

(5 Posts)
tigitigi Tue 28-Jun-11 02:15:57

We lost my father in law a few months ago. I have two children who loved him dearly, we live a long way away but they spoke regularly on the phone and say 4-6 times a year. My oldest is 4 and is very sensitive. He has always lived with a family bereavement as my mother died when he was very little, we have always spoken about her.

When he died we brought them in to see the body and kiss grandad goodbye, they came to the funeral and they understand that his body went in the box and his soul went to heaven. My oldest understands his grandad is gone for ever and that he is with God and Jesus in heaven. He understands that we are all sad but that it is also ok to be happy.

He was dealing with the grief ok - but recently he has become very upset on a number of occasions - yesterday evening he cried, deep body shaking sobs and clung on to us - it took half an hour to pass. This morning when we came to wake him up he was just lying in bed crying quietly to himself. Similar things have happened on a number of occasions but they seem to be intensifying.

I know that this needs to run its course over the next few years but I wonder how best to help him. We are moving soon and he knows (and is excited) about this but he may be feeling a little apprehensive.

acatcalledbob Tue 28-Jun-11 02:27:58

Sorry for your loss. Have a look at this, it's excellent advice. I lost my FIL when DD was nearly 4 ... it was 3 weeks before we relocated halfway across the world and I was 6 months pregnant. An awful lot for a little one to cope with.

I'm not sure I would have let a 4 year old see the body and attend the funeral as I do think it's too much for them to cope with but that's imho and it's everyone's individual choice. I wanted DD to remember her grandad as the person he was, not the body.

Keep talking, keep reassuring and remember that tears are good - it's when he's withdrawn and not crying or talking that you should be concerned.

Be strong and take care.

greenrock Tue 28-Jun-11 23:02:43

My 6 year old DS was so upset when my Dad died as he was like a Dad to him too. His first reaction was that it must be his fault. Then he didn't want to talk about it at all. He had quite a few tantrums in the week after but these are getting better. He slowly started to talk about it and he asked to see my Dad's body. He went to the funeral and insisted on reading something in the church. I think he was much better having done those things.

Could your DS be worried that you might also die? My DS went through that after his goldfish died when he was about 4 so he hasn't raised this since my Dad died. Could he be feeling that it was his fault? My DS thought it was his fault for not going to see my Dad the morning he died. He is always wishing he could have saved my Dad and was surprised when I told him that there was a doctor there at the time of his death but that he just made us tea as there was nothing he could do to save my Dad. My DS has asked a lot about what happened and I have spent a long time talking about it and answering his quesions as honestly as I can. I hope that all the talking has helped.

Sorry for your loss and hope your little boy soon feels better.

SpringchickenGoldBrass Thu 30-Jun-11 01:36:05

Sympathy to all of you and I'm glad I found this thread because I'm dealing with it too. My dad died suddenly on Sunday and my 6 year old DS is upset. He was crying tonight at bedtime after asking lots of questions about the funeral: I think he just really got the idea tonight that he won't see his grandad again. He's a very logical child and one of the things that has upset him is that Grandad was younger than Nana (my mother has always been 6 months older than my father) and yet Grandad died before Nana ie if the oldest person is not the first to die then anyone could die at any time, so he is now concerned that I or his dad or anyone else might suddenly die. I have told him that most people live until they are very old and that their bodies just wear out and stop working (my dad was 78). DS was asking if he would see Grandad's body and I said no, we are not having a viewing and that Grandad's body would be at the funeral in a coffin. So DS wanted to know what would happen to the body in the coffin and I told him it would be cremated and the ashes scattered in a place that would help the flowers grow.

tigitigi Thu 30-Jun-11 23:55:02

Thanks for all the posts and advice. I think he is just very unsettled and yes, worried that anyone might go at any time. I have a family member abroad with the forces and this is also a stress for him. A cat that is really good advice, I hope that your move went ok and that your DH/ DD you and the baby are settled.

It is strange about bodies - I would not have wanted them to see their grandad in a coffin but it seemed very natural to take them to his bedroom for a final goodbye kiss - the kids really wanted to but it is not for everyone and really depends on the individual child and family.

My thoughts go out to all of you - it is so horrible to loose a parent but to watch a child grieve with you is just awful - it was a little easier when my mum died because my son was only a baby. Green and Spring all my thoughts and hopes for strength to deal with the coming days are with you.

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