It is a sad reality of our times that the death of a loved one is something that many of us are dealing with. There is a saying “Grandmothers are like mothers with frosting.” That is true in this house. My kids worship my mom. She is usually here three days a week and they are used to seeing her and getting wrapped up in her hugs. Grandmas have a way of listening to kids that make them feel like they are the only human being in the world. My mom is now in her 80s and has asthma, making her high risk for corona virus. We won’t let the kids near her and while I miss her terribly, I also worry endlessly about her health. All of these stories of elderly parents dying alone are enough to rip your heart out. Yet, so many people are going through it. And even when it does happen, families are left to grieve alone without a traditional ceremony.
A few years ago, we lost my husband’s mom and it was devastating. I really struggled with how to talk to my kids about it. They were really young and I didn’t want to freak them out about death. How do we talk to young children about death without filling them with fear? It is a delicate subject because their imaginations can run wild. I didn’t want them to be scared that every time they got sick, they could die. It also opens up much bigger questions about God and Heaven and religion. Kids will keep asking why, why, why? And when you are in a fragile state of grieving yourself, it makes it even harder to talk about. In the end, I researched a few good children’s books to read to them. This helped open up a discussion naturally, answer questions, and give them something to relate to. These books are still on their shelves and we still read them. These are clickable links, so you can check them out.
Books that help us talk to children about death
1. Grandma Upstairs and Grandma Downstairs
4. I Miss You: A First Look at Death
Books that help us talk to children about the death of a pet
Saying goodbye to a pet can also be really hard. I remember when our dog died, I felt that even our oldest son was too young to talk to about it. A good 3 days past before he even noticed. When he asked me where Bailey was, I panicked and said “outside.” (Technically not a lie). He just accepted that as a good answer. It wasn’t until it was brought up around his cousin that she looked at him and said bluntly, the way kids do, “Um, your dog is dead.” I will never forget that look my son gave me, like I had totally deceived him. I felt really badly, although I was just trying to protect his feelings. I think kids are tougher than we think they are. Sometimes we can traumatize them even more with our good intentions. We all had that dog that “went to live on a farm in the country.” So here are a few good books to help them through the loss of a pet.
2. The Tenth Good Thing About Barney
I hope these books for children on death help you get through your time of grief. It is such a hard to be going through. You are not alone.
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