Talking about Death to a Child

Question:

How do you talk to a child about death? How do you help a child to grieve? What are the best things to say to a child? How do you explain it? Where do you begin? We just lost our six-year-old daughter to cancer, and we are all a mess. We are trying to do our best with our four-year-old daughter, but it is very hard. Esther keeps saying all kinds of things that do not make any sense. I feel like I have to orient her to reality, but I don’t even know where to begin. Any help you can be would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so very much.

“Over-my-head Mom”

 

Answer:

Dear Very Concerned Mom,

I hope I can relax you with this important information about approaching the concept of death with children.

A death ends the relationship with that person as it was. However, it does not end it in final terms. Relationships change over time because they are alive and interactive. Death relationships are still relationships, just different. Once death happens, memory takes over and plays the part of the other person.

Your child has and always will have this memory to cherish and relate to in any and every way. While your daughter can no longer enjoy the old relationship in an interactive and growing way, she can now have it to think about her sister, talk to her in her own way, and talk about her in any way. Advise your daughter to savor any and all memories of times shared together.

Encourage her to talk to you about her sister, ask as many questions as she wants or needs, and to share with you any and all feelings about what has happened. Sometimes just verbalizing a troublesome thought will help the sadness to subside.

 

February! The Month of the Heart

Your heart is a muscle. It is located a little to the left of the middle of your chest. It is about the size of your fist. The heart sends blood around your body delivering oxygen (you breathe in) and nutrients (from food you eat) to all parts of your body. It also carries away waste.

 

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