So sadly in January, we lost a member of the family. This is the second year that we have lost a loved one in January. Elsa is at the age were she asks a million questions and wants to know everything that is going on. But what is the best way to support and talk to your child when a loved one passes away?
Elsa like to believe that angels came down and took her loved one to the moon. That is what she has decided to believe and as her parent I am going to support her if that is the way that she wants to understand death. Elsa is very switched on to it and it can be overwhelming. She once told me that people die because their hearts get poorly and they stop but it is ok because the angels take them to the moon. She also believes that Robins are loved ones that have come to see her and check up on her. She has her telescope in her room so she can see her loved ones that are on the moon too.
A few weeks after our loved one passed away, we received a book through the post. It is called Grandpa is now in Heaven and is written by Kasie Kennedy. It is book that explains your loved one is still there in spirit even if they aren’t in person. This book has been brilliant for us as it shows the loved one as a bird, just like Elsa recognises Robins. You can purchase Grandpa is now in Heaven from Amazon.
I asked some parent bloggers for advice on how to support you child and this is what they said:
Use clear language – don’t say “they’ve gone to sleep forever” or “they’ve gone to a better place” as it can be confusing. It’s hard to say someone they love has died but it’s best to be straight so they can understand what you mean -but my god it’s so hard to say out loud. – Twinderelmo
Using books can be very helpful. Having an example to follow can make it easier for a young child to comprehend a difficult concept, and if you select a good book it should also offer comfort. – The Less-Refined Mind
Don’t shield them from it. My son saw my Dad getting poorly and so we started to slowly explain that he wouldn’t get better, to lead us to talk about death. I have found that being open and honest with my son helped so much. He always comes with us to the grave and he likes to go there and have time remembering his Grandad. He has asked me lots of questions that make you think as an adult – why was he buried? Did it hurt? Is he cold down in the ground? What about when it rains? In their own little way they help you get through a bad time too. It’s a mutual journey and the honesty and innocence that comes from a child is sometimes what we need. – Ready Freddie Go
Let your child know that it’s ok to cry, that it’s actually really healing and healthy. Don’t be afraid to show them your grief and tears too, seeing you upset and crying will help them realise it’s normal to feel like this after loss. – Mum in the Moment
Honesty is so important so as to not cause confusion. Saying things like “they’re not here anymore” can be a little bit ambiguous.
We are not a religious family, but explained to our daughter quite openly that her little brother was in the stars. Our youngest daughter who never met her brother as born afterwards is aware she has a brother who is in heaven and she will point out the brightest star and say it’s Oliver. It’s important to be honest, encourage them to talk about that person if they want to, and just be there. – Back With A Bump