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CM - weird question funeral related

(20 Posts)
mumsanutter Thu 25-Jun-09 17:08:52

Took ds3 and 4 to my grandads funeral this pm. Ds 3 was full of questions and wanted to know where grandad was, so I pointed to the coffin and said that he was laying in there. That was fine with ds3 until they lowered the coffin so that the cremation could be carried out, and now ds is full of where has grandad gone sad

A very good friend suggested that I tell him that when someone dies and they are lowered like that they turn into clouds. Do you think that this will settle my extremely curious and questioning ds??


Littlefish Thu 25-Jun-09 17:20:08


I think you should come up with a child-friendly version of the truth, or not say anything.

mosschops30 Thu 25-Jun-09 17:23:42

I think you should have thought before taking such a young child to a funeral!

My father died recently, and although I took dd (12) I wouldnt have dreamed of taking ds (4) as he is far to young to understand about death, or to understand an adult explaining it.

Anyway thats by the by, you should be as honest as you can, a friend of mine has serious sleep issues as she was told as a child that people who die 'just go off to sleep'

southernbelle77 Thu 25-Jun-09 17:24:36

My dd was only just born when my mum died so it's a different scenario but we tell her that grandma is sleeping in heaven. Could you say that grandad has now gone to sleep in the coffin and that although you won't be able to see him in person anymore, you can still think about him and remember all the lovely things about him and you could find a place to go which is your special place to remember him.

Littlefish Thu 25-Jun-09 17:28:57

But southernbelle, they're not asleep, are they. I agree with Mosschops re. being honest as you can.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 25-Jun-09 17:31:50

agree never say alseep - this can cause major problems

maybe just say that their body stays in the ground, but their soul/spirit goes to heaven/happy place

i dont see the problem in taking a 3/4yr to a close relative funeral and say goodbye, esp if grandad was well loved

southernbelle77 Thu 25-Jun-09 17:33:20

No, but telling a 4 year old (my dd) that they are 'dead' meant nothing. She now understands a bit more and knows that grandma has died and she can't come back. I guess it depends on the age of the child, the child itself and how your child will react. What we did worked for us and hasn't left her traumatised or scared of death.

southernbelle77 Thu 25-Jun-09 17:36:52

I think Blondes is right when saying the body stays in the ground but their spirt goes up to heaven. You might have to explain spirt depending on the age, but that seems good especially as he saw the coffin being lowered etc.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 25-Jun-09 17:38:48

i have had to try and explain a few gps death to my dc sad

but always good to say goodbye if possible

weegiemum Thu 25-Jun-09 17:43:38

Someone on here has a great way of explaining death to kids (the sock analogy, anyone?)

Will try to find.

We have always been pretty straightforward about death with our kids - dad is a doctor and deals with death regularly so not bothered about speaking about it. After he once had to go out as a GP to register a death on Christmas Day and came back pretty down we felt they had to know about it.

Our kids know that when you are dead you don't need your body any more so either we bury it in the ground or burn it up.

weegiemum Thu 25-Jun-09 18:08:07

here's a quote:

By Twiglett on Fri 21-Jul-06 20:48:17
I put a hand in a glove (well in a sock cos I couldn't find a glove)

I said to DS .. "this is you .. the glove is your body" (wiggling fingers all around), "but the hand is the bit that is really you and some people call that your soul or your spirit" (keep on wiggling)

"when you die your spirit goes on" (gently take hand out of glove and make it keep wiggling and swooping around .. tickling him works too as you gently lay the glove down on the ground)

keeping his attention on the hand swooping I said "when you die you don't need your body any more so your spirit leaves it behind" .. spirit hand keeps swooping and talk descends into tickling

Hope this helps.

Link to thread is:


mumsanutter Thu 25-Jun-09 18:24:37

I can understand what you are saying about taking a young child to a funeral, but this was my mums dad, and my mum passed away 24 years ago, so he was one of the few links left to my mum. I could not get a sitter for my younger child as the funeral was at 3.15!!

I have explained about death, as it has always been difficult that my mum is not here and I do not call my step mum -mum, and my boys have picked up on this, so have hence explained about the death of my mum.

dylansaunty Fri 26-Jun-09 05:57:39

There is an excellent book aimed at young children that explains that someone is gone but it is easy to remember them. I think it is called Badgers parting gift. I would reccommend it to anyone with young children awho have suffered a berevement. it does not explain what has happened, but how people can cope with their emotions.

Oligo Sat 27-Jun-09 16:11:04

i think 3 is not too young to explain death at all. It can break them in gently for later. I start early when they squash ants and see dead animals/birds in the road.

Whatever age someone is first exposed to the idea of death they will not understand. Acceptance/understanding comes (if ever) with time and repetition. It is part of life and children are facinated with presence/absence.

When a parent died in one family we made models out of playdough to help work through it as there were many many (repeted) questions, as a way to begin their understanding. I think conveying death's significance is better than a frivolous or denying attitude, even at 3.

Oligo Sat 27-Jun-09 16:23:45

you might explain that some people believe in god, ghosts etc. or like to imagine they become a cloud but don't say its true unless you want them to adopt that belief.

I had to explain that you couldn't get a new person the same from a shop 'cos they thought they had been broken/old.

Dylan, that book is excellent - borrowed it from ds nursery when we lost 2 kittens earlier this year - not a person dying, I know, but it was still upsetting for a 4yr old and his first experience of death.

Lloyds pharmacy also have one of the Duchess of York books which covers a person dying, only a couple of pounds.

MissSunny Sat 27-Jun-09 23:28:37

Message withdrawn

mumsanutter Sun 28-Jun-09 07:13:42

Thank you so much for the responses. My ds3 is 4 yrs old, and on Thursday asked non stop where granddad was (after the coffin had been lowered), so we (dh and I) have explained that granddad has died and is in heaven with my mum.

As with a 4 yr old, something else has taken his fancy and has gripped his attention so he has stopped asking, but I will definitely find the book - will look on amazon.

Thank you again

mumsanutter Sun 28-Jun-09 07:14:21

Should say his spirit is in heaven with my mum

mummy247 Sun 28-Jun-09 19:13:02

when my great gran died i told dd who is 3 that she is a star now she accepted it

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