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words to use to dd5 and ds3.5 about my dying df

(11 Posts)
sacbina Tue 26-Jan-16 23:01:37

Df has been given 3 months at most. He has prostate cancer. I think it will be weeks

Want to be honest with dc but not sure of words to use. They know he is ill, they see him very frail unable to walk.

Dd accepted cat dying when she was 3 very matter of factly, so not afraid of talking about death but can't think what words to use that won't scare them. I don't believe in heaven and don't want to be all vague about it. Plus I cannot stop crying so need some words in advance instead of a rubbish response.

My mind is blank, help?

FlippertyJibbit Tue 26-Jan-16 23:10:17

I'm sure somebody will be along soon to help out, I don't really have any words to offer but just wanted to say I'm sorry for your sad news. thanks

butterflymum Tue 26-Jan-16 23:17:55

Using books to help them understand might be helpful. You could try Badger's Parting Gifts by Susan Varley.

Eebs Tue 26-Jan-16 23:35:09

My df died last week so I understand the place you are at. My dds are a bit older at 6 and 9 but I lost my dm when my dd was 2.8 so been there at this stage too. I knew my dad was dying and I told the children. When he did die it was a lot easier for them I felt. It is hard but it is good for the children to see that it is ok to be sad. However, they asked if he was in heaven and I said yes. I don't believe in heaven but I think its feels more concrete and a bit like Father Christmas, we know he doesn't exist but we keep the idea alive until children naturally come to their own beliefs. Be open and honest with them. Cry and explain why. Children are not afraid of emotion but they are afraid of not knowing. They may ask you if you or they are going to die too. I said that grandads body was too ill to go on. I am so sorry about your df. I think this is the hardest bit, watching them ill. Warmest wishes and strength for this last part.

Eebs Tue 26-Jan-16 23:37:38

Sorry I've not said what words to use. Just use normal words and keep it simple. The concept is too big even for adults. I said that we may not be able to see him anymore but we could still talk to him even though he cannot say words back. It will be easier than you think.

florentina1 Wed 27-Jan-16 08:59:30

My son was 3 when my Dad died. I said that Grandad's body was ill and that part of him had died. I said all the funny bits of grandad that we remember are still here.

I am not sure he understood but it helped as a basis for future discussions when he was older.

We never mentioned heaven but,strangely enough, we were out walking when the when the sun was shining through a cloud. He asked me if that was were grandad was sitting. It seems that children find a way of dealing death in their own way.

I am so sorry you are having to face this.

SecretSpy Wed 27-Jan-16 09:04:45

When my children have known people who have died I told them that their body isn't working anymore and it's very sad but it can't be fixed. And we talk about how it important to remember the lovely things about them, and we will miss them. We've talked about making room for all the new people /babies being born and how people are arriving and leaving all the time (circle of life type stuff )

We don't do heaven etc.

Sorry you are going through this. Winstons Wish have some resources to support bereaved children. And Badger's Parting Gifts is a book that's often recommended for this.

sacbina Wed 27-Jan-16 17:19:01

Thank you everyone, for taking the time to reply and your kind words.


Helenluvsrob Wed 27-Jan-16 17:27:50

Badgers parting gifts is a really good book.

It is gentle. It's appropriate for the death of an elderly grandparent. Old bodies wear out and can't be mended etc. ( with the implication I know then that young people don't die , but I guess what they need to know is grandad will die soon , grandma might die but not yet, but you and the kids are young and fit and will go on almost for ever )

Make sure you are clear almost to the point of blunt ness. The advice is the euphemisms like " fell asleep " or " gone" can be misinterpreted and scarier than saying died .

They'll probably take it in their stride with at" yeah ok , is it pizza for tea" attitude and then you'll get the tricky questions popping up at odd times, like half way round sainsburys ...

DesertOrDessert Wed 27-Jan-16 17:39:42

I told my 6 and 4 year olds yesterday their Great Grandmother had died.
Bit different, as it had actually happened, and also I stopped taking them to see her about 18 months ago, as a day trip was 4 hrs driving, and the house totally unsafe for them. She also had no idea who they were, or that they had been to visit.
I literally sat them down, and said I'd got some sad news, and that Great Granny had died. 4 year old not fussed in the slightest. 6 yr old asked if she was 100.

sacbina Wed 27-Jan-16 17:49:53

Yes, fully expecting them to be a bit non-plussed. Well ds at least. Dd is quite a sensitive child. Although when we buried the cat a few years ago, before we planted flowers on top dd asked if we could put ds in the hole too as he was a bit noisy!

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