Monday, September 21, 2009

Trying to explain death to a four year old

Mom, when Grandpa died did he forget our phone number? Why can’t you call him? Did you forget his phone number? All you have to do is fined his phone number and we can talk to him. Why don’t you look for his phone number? If Grandpa forgot our phone number why can’t he write us? Is Daddy bringing Grandpa home with him? When can we see him again?

For a week know I have been trying to explain that Grandpa is gone. That there will not be anymore phone calls. My kids just don’t get it. Today I started balling as they tried to figure out why Grandpa cannot just pick up the phone and call them.

My son, trying to be helpful explained to his little sister that Grandpa did not want to die. But he does not really get it himself. He is the one asking if Grandpa forgot our phone number when he died. He also asked if people forget everything when they die. As if it was a video game where a person can die and come back and start all over again, or at the last level. Death is not an easy concept. He has this idea that Grandpa is going to be coming back.

My daughter has no idea. She thinks he is mad and does not want to talk to us. I keep explaining that Grandpa loved them but that he is no longer here. He has passed on. I keep thinking they get it but then comes another question. When can they talk to Grandpa?

I think it is time for me to go to the library and find some children stories about death and dying so that it can be explained to them in concepts they understand. Not that I expect to find children’s books about death and dying. That is something we try to protect our kids from, not expose them to it in stories.

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