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MIL died suddenly, 3YO DS worried about dying

(4 Posts)
LetThereBeCupcakes Sat 18-Jun-16 21:16:13

Apologies if this isn't the right place, happy to get it moved if need be.

My lovely MIL died very suddenly last week. She lived quite a way from us so DS didn't see her often, but remembered her and spoke about her.

We told him last week that grandma had got very ill very suddenly and the doctor couldn't make her better, and she died. He seemed fine. We had to travel to her home town to sort things out so DS stayed with my mum. No apparent problems.

DH has gone back this weekend to do some work on her house so I've been home with DS. DS has asked a lot of questions which I've answered honestly. All seemed Ok. I told him we would all be going up to see DH's side of the family next week (for the funeral). I told him briefly what would happen and that people might be sad. Suddenly DS has started saying he doesn't want to die. He likes being alive and he wants to stay with mummy. I've reassured him but not sure I've handled it quite right?

He's generally not that sensitive, however we lost our dog this year which, combined with me being pregnant and very unwell seemed to trigger some behavioural issues (mostly at nursery and much improved now).

Just not sure how much of his fretting is normal for a 3YO, or what's the best way of reassuring him?

WellErrr Sat 18-Jun-16 21:25:23

Sorry to hear about your MIL flowers

Watching this as my 3 year old is going through similar questions.
What triggered it for us is looking at a picture of a dog and asking where it was, and I said it was dead.
We live on a farm so he knows what dead is, he's seen dead animals etc. But for some reason this really got to him. I told him about the dog (who'd been put to sleep) and tried to explain that the dog was very badly hurt and because the vet couldn't make him better, he gave him something to make him die so it wouldn't hurt any more. I also said that people aren't like animals and doctors can almost always make people better and they have much better medicine so he wasn't to worry. I probably said all the wrong things but he just kept going with the questions. And he cried and cried and said he was so sad for my nice dog.

I tried saying that it was ok to be sad but that there was no reason to be too sad because the dog wasn't hurting any more and he had a lovely life while he was here.

Really put me on the spot though. Hope your DS is ok flowers

LetThereBeCupcakes Sat 18-Jun-16 21:32:01

Thanks Well. It's hard to know the right thing to say, isn't it? DS didn't understand the permanence of death for a long time after ddog died and often asked when would he be back. I think it might have clicked now though. Last weekend we brought back the toys that lived at MILs and explained the house would be sold. I'm wondering if the realisation that death is permanent is what's got him thinking?

ukulelelady Mon 18-Jul-16 22:37:30

It sounds like you are saying all the right things. I think the main thing with explaining death to children is to be clear and honest. So no words like granny has passed or has gone. Gone where? Also try and only answer the question you have been asked and don't elaborate. Your child may not be ready to hear about more specifics. Unfortunately I've had to explain to my son about his dad dying. I cry in front of him too and think it's healthy to show emotions, so sometimes I'll say, I'm sad about daddy. I found the childs bereavement charity winstons wish very helpful. They have a helpline with an experienced person you can have a chat to or ask any questions. It's a good idea to work out answers because you'll get asked when you are least expecting it. Good luck and sorry for your loss.

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