Moms Talk: Dealing with Death

Have you ever had to explain to your kids what it means to die, or how to cope when a loved one just isn't around anymore?

A recent death in the family and in the family of someone very close to me this past month has had this topic on my mind, and I thought it would be fitting for a Moms Talk discussion.

Today, it's dealing with death.

I remember the first time I watched ER as a kid (why I was watching ER as a tyke, I don't recall), and I remember seeing Noah Wyle doing his best to save all those folks inside that hospital. But when someone died, I wasn't quite sure what that meant.

What I did know was that I didn't like it. Boy, did I not like it. It was scary, it was unknown, and if it ever happened to someone I knew — or me, even! — I just couldn't fathom it.

I was a lucky kid; I hadn't experienced death before. I was fortunate to have all my grandparents, my close relatives, my friends. So when I saw death on TV it had the same effect on me as watching Friday the 13th before bedtime. I was shaken.

The scariness of that situation still overshadows the comforting words I received from my mom, but I do know that she consoled me by telling me I had nothing to worry about, and that it was a fact of life that people, for the most part, don't really think about.

Whatever she said, it worked. I'm curious as to what other moms have said to their kids if they've ever experienced the loss of a loved one at a young age, or if their kids were like me and were just curious about death? Are there any resources out there you'd recommend on the topic?

— Morgan

Emily Chesnic September 14, 2011 at 01:04 PM
We used to visit my great-grandmother in the home weekly when I was a young child. She had alzheimers and often did not remember the things I told her the week before, but I did enjoy seeing her, and she clearly enjoyed seeing me. I believe my parents took me their regularly because I did bring a sweet smile to her face while she dwelled in an otherwise gloomy place. She passed away when I was 5 and that was my first introduction to death. I did not like it either. I was very confused and bothered by the crying and planning going on around me. My parents did not take me to the funeral home or funeral, and I did not understand why they kept leaving me with a babysitter. I was scared and sad and I did not even comprehend why. Thankfully, my parents did explain to me that my grandmother was taken to heaven by God. I was often taught about heaven and God and went to church, so this did make sense to me even though I was so young. I teach my children about heaven, as well. My older children have asked me about a picture I have in our home of my precious grandpa, who was the greatest man ever, in my book. They often ask where he is now and why they have never met him. I also tell them that he is heaven with God, but that he always will be very special to me, and I am quite sure he is looking down at my special girls with a sweet smile on his face.
Kathy Yaros September 14, 2011 at 01:54 PM
When my mother-in law died, my youngest son was 6. He was confused by all the tears and activity also and asked why we were crying. I explained, "Grandma has died and we are all so sad that we won't get to see her any more" My son replied "Don't be sad, Mommy, she's with Jesus now and her knees don't hurt any more" Though he also missed his grandma, he seemed to have grasped the big picture and the lessons we had tried teach him about our faith. I still get choked up when I think of this moment. Kids often understand so much more than we think they do. We need to explain things truthfully and smply, they know when we don't. Dishonesty upsets them more.
Emily Chesnic September 14, 2011 at 03:43 PM
That is so beautiful, Kathy, and brought tears to my eyes. We can learn a lot from our children at times. Oh, to have the faith of a child!
Lisa Lynch-Frank September 15, 2011 at 12:30 AM
It's hard because often my 3-year-old will say she wants to go to heaven and see God. I tell her that God takes everyone in their own time and we He's ready. I believe that when you have strong spiritual connection, it makes death and losing a loved one a easier to cope with and my daughter has a better understanding of death as well.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »