My husband has commit suicide - what do I tell my 4 year old and 2 year old?(77 Posts)
Last night my husband (we were currently in the process of being separated) commit suicide.
I received a suicide note from him in the middle of the night via email and the police found his body and everything was dealt with before morning.
My dad helped take my children to their childminder today, and they currently have no knowledge of what's happened.
How the hell do I explain this to them? How do I child appropriately tell them their father has died? Also, should I tell them he commit suicide, given their age (my son is 4, daughter is 2.5) or tell him it was an accident?
Thanks in advance.
Oh my.. I have no idea what you should say, but just wanted to say I'm so sorry. That is such a lot for you to cope with. I hope someone with some expert advice comes along soon.
I'm so sorry Red
My DF committed suicide 3 years ok and I explained to my DN (then 3 but we've spoken since) that he was very ill. He knows that some illnesses can't be seen and sometimes people become so ill they die. He knows that it is very sad but that he still loved us and didn't want to die but was just too ill.
I hope this helps.
Oh Red, I'm sorry. I truly feel for you. I honestly don't know how you do it, hopefully someone on here will know. It happened to a friend of mine but her children were much older.
Oh what a horrible thing to happen. I would tell them he had an accident, to be honest. I couldn't tell them he'd committed suicide. When they're much older they can learn what happened, but for now the loss of their dad is enough without knowing he caused it.
There may also be some useful information here at Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide.
I think it would not be best to tell them how he died. They dont need that information at this point. I think white has a good suggestion. Sometimes someone is very ill and isnt able to get better.
Perhaps there is an organisation out there that has advice on how to talk to young children about death
I am so sorry OP.
I agree with tribpot, I would call Winston's Wish for advice.
Again, my thoughts are with you.
Im sorry to hear about this.
The advice is usually to tell children the truth, of course gently, so that they don't feel lied to when they find out later
There is lots of advice here specifically about children on page 38
Thank you all, I will call Winston's Wish and see what they say. I'm just in absolute shock right now I can't believe this is happening.
Gosh I have no idea but I'm so sorry for your loss. I know there are charities specifically geared towards young children who have suffered bereavement.
I would think at this early stage it's ok to give an outline of what happened and fill in the blanks as they get older. You sound totally numb, how are you handling the news? 😕
I feel sick and keep replaying everything. He had been here last night. We'd had a good day yesterday, but did have a few drinks in the evening. Then got into an argument as I had messaged someone on facebook. I went to bed and woke up to an email from him that ended with "please don't go in the garage" and well... I feel awful. Everyone keeps telling me not to blame myself but it's so fucking hard. I just wish he had woken me, talked to me. I feel awful as he asked for a hug before bed and I said no.
Sorry, i'm rambling. I can't believe he has done this to me and the children, I feel so angry, guilty, then numb. I feel like I want to wake up.
You could soften it by saying that he is very ill. Then you could say he has died. Then leave it at that.
Sorry for your loss
Don't feel guilty. You have no idea what goes on in someones head.
What you're feeling is inevitable, and I know that you will find virtually everyone who knew him will feel 'why didn't he just call, why didn't he tell me' - but the suicidal impulse is such that he didn't want to call. You must not believe you caused this to happen.
When my life was touched, in a much more distant way, by suicide a few years ago I felt as if the person who had died had let all of his pain out into the world, and that somehow we who had known him were left to absorb our share of it. It did make me angry - he and his team were working with mine at the time, so I only knew him a little but his team were poleaxed and I felt so angry at what he had put them through.
Do you have people around who can help you?
So sorry Red. Perhaps you could say that he was very ill and that he died from his illness - isn't that the truth after all? Also, as PP said, not all illnesses can be seen. Please don't feel guilty, it was his decision.
I spoke to Winston's Wish and they have advised me to be honest about what has happened, which sounds extreme given what has happened, but when she explained the reasoning for it I understood.
My two year old likely won't ask for more details but my four year old is bound to and he will want all the details. How the fuck do you tell a four year old his daddy hung himself? Hopefully his questions won't go that deep
I was advised to just say that Daddy was very sad and took his own life in the garage. And to allow myself to cry in front of them so they know it's okay to feel that way too.
I have my dad and step mum here - they drove down from Yorkshire at 3am so I have support. None of this feels real.
I'm so sorry you find yourself in such a difficult position. You have every right to feel angry with your estranged husband. I would simply tell the children in age appropriate terms that their father has died. I wouldn't at this stage tell them it was suicide, an accident or that he was ill. There will have to be an inquest and the corner will rule how the death should be recorded. The children don't need to know the cause of death at this stage, when they are older and able to understand then you can tell them more.
God. I don't think I could tell them that it happened in the garage. I would feel dreadful about telling him he took his own life, but I assume WW have explained why honesty is better than a lie you have to walk back when they're older. I can understand not just saying that he died suddenly and that sometimes that happens, as it will frighten them terribly that the same might happen to you.
Crying in front of them is the right thing, I think - this is the worst day of all of your lives. You trying not to cry won't make it better for them.
My goodness OP I'm so sorry, how awful. No real advice except that I'm sure you realise it's likely your 4yr old (possibly all of you) will need counselling to try and process. I know 2 young boys who have recently been through similar and both had very definite reactions that needed professional help. Get the wheels in motion as soon as you feel able, unfortunately it sometimes takes ages (too long) to put into place
One day at a time for now though x
That's true, I wouldn't just come out and tell them how it happened it's just I know my four year old will have hundreds of questions (he does about everything right now!) and they said to answer them honestly. God this is awful
I am so sorry.
I would go with what Winstons Wish said. My MIL hung herself and we have had so many problems resulting from not telling DD the truth. Honestly, they are the specialists, so take their advice. We said lots of things about feeling sad and not all illnesses being seen and the end result of that was DD thinking she could die from sadness and worrying that people are ill and will die without an explanation. If I could turn back time I would tell the truth, however unpalatable.
That or stick to a lie forevermore
It is very raw now, so try to be kind to yourself and think about getting some counselling if you can. Play therapy support for your children might also help.
What makes me so angry is that he always acknowledged that his mother's death (also by suicide when he was 17) was the cause of so much of his depression. How the fuck could he put our children through it too. MistyMeena you are right - they will need counselling, it was something my husband never sought when younger and clearly so dearly needed
Thank you MsGee, that helps, I am sorry you have been through something similar and what you say makes a lot of sense re being honest.
I think the nature of the death makes it harder because there isn't really a nice version such as taking too much medicine or something. But I really think that the truth is the best in the long term.
You can always say that you don't have all the details from the police but that you can tell them what you know and that he took his own life and was sad. That it is ok to be sad and a bit angry too. I am still angry at my MIL but most of the time I just feel terribly terribly sorry that she felt that this was her only option.
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