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How do you explain they are gone?

(8 Posts)
shellandkai Sat 27-Apr-13 21:44:45

Hi all,
I'm a mum to a beautiful happy healthy little boy of 2 years, and as a normal toddler he questions most things why? Where? How? Etc well the other week my partners friend who was like a brother to him/ boss's son died (no actual reason other than he stopped breathing) at 21 well my son was also quite close to him when he died my son was asking where he was, all we could say is you can't see him anymore angel, but he wants to know why and keeps asking I have no idea how we are meant to explain it to him without too much detail and without scaring him, please has anyone got any advice on this kind of situation? Would be very much appreciated smile

BoyMeetsWorld Sat 27-Apr-13 21:48:56

Oh no sad having to explain death to any child is awful...I do think concepts of heaven and watching over us help, even if you're not v religious.

But the fact he just stopped breathing for no reason is terrifying for a tiny child. Surely you cant tell him that? Was there def no underlying reason that allows you to say he was v sick but nobody knew??

Poor little thing...

Smartiepants79 Sat 27-Apr-13 21:59:03

A very difficult one.
There are lots of books around if you do a search. He might not be old enough for them though.
What about 'goodbye mog' very sad book (for adults!) but brings in the concept of death, and the loved one watching over us.
Gentle honesty is how I think I would go.

syl1985 Sun 28-Apr-13 00:02:07

It's very difficult to explain it to a child. But children can deal with these things much better then we grownups think.

Because kids just except things the way they are.
He wants to know more. I think that you can tell him more about what happened with leaving the terrible details out.

Something like:
He died, it's something that we all have to do at some time. We all have been born and we all die at some moment.
He's now in heaven. Or something that fits with your own beliefs.

If you believe that we live and that's it. I personally wouldn't say that. That must be hard to understand for a child that we are alive and then we don't exist anymore, it's over.

There're books in the library that will help to talk with children about death. Maybe you can visit this mans grave with your child. Let him make a drawing for him and buy some flowers for on his grave.

Take care,

shellandkai Sun 28-Apr-13 12:49:57

At 2 years old I feel that it's too young to explain the concept of death, as I don't want to scare him, my younger sister was told the truth when a family member died when she was little (they didn't explain the reason for the death) but they did explain that everyone has to die but this gave her nightmares for years and she got sooo scared that everyone was going to die, I don't really want my son feeling like that as it took years for my sister to get over her fear although she still is scared but not as badly at the age of 17. We did tell him he won't see him again because he's an angel now but he wants to know why he can't see him what am I supposed to say without scaring him? It's a very hard situation and I'm just stuck with trying to avoid the question at the minute as I haven't an answer without scaring him :s

Icantstopeatinglol Sun 28-Apr-13 12:59:33

How about you keep it simple and just explain that he's gone to heaven as he was poorly? I know you say he stopped breathing which is hard to explain but ultimately there was some underlying issue. Don't think there's ever a right way to explain it as only you know your ds.

swallowedAfly Sun 28-Apr-13 13:03:58

if you really don't want to explain death to him then you don't have much option but to say he's gone away and hope ds will (and he will) forget about him soon enough. i'm not sure i agree with this way but then i think i probably lean towards a little too much honesty.

they do forget people very quickly at that age.

IronMonger Sun 28-Apr-13 17:03:37

Hello, our cat died when my dc was 2. He saw that I was upset and he was upset. It's taken a while for it to sink in that he won't be coming back. I've found that answering his questions as honestly as I can has been the best way for us. We told him that cats (and other animals, and people) sometimes get too poorly and the vet (doctor) gives them medicine but it doesn't work and they die. I was worried that next time he was poorly he would be frightened of dying, and he did ask if he was going to die, and I said no, your not too poorly for the medicine to work and he was reassured by that. I am constantly surprised by how much our children are able to cope with. He has developed a fascination? Interest? in death, and asks whether various thing will die (flowers, inanimate objects), but I view this as a normal part of trying to understand the world in the same way he asks all the other normal toddler questions, and I want him to know it's OK to talk about it, ask questions about it, be sad about it etc. Death is very real and once you as the parent know what you want your child to think about what happens next (our dead cat went in a hole in the ground, and turned into food for the flowers and the trees), you'll be surprised at how accepting they can be.
Sorry that was so long, and I know there is a big difference between a cat and a person, but I wanted to share with you because I think ours is a positive story. flowers

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