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I don’t want to have this conversation—possible trigger


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My grandma passed away last night. It was less than two weeks from when my parents took her to the hospital for symptoms that turned out to be colon cancer. She went home for hospice care this past Tuesday, and Wednesday had a crowd of great-grandchildren visiting her, chatting with them and praising the pictures they had drawn for her like the perfect doting grandmother she always was. By the next morning she hardly spoke and only took a very few ice chips. Dh arranged his work schedule so I could stay to help care for grandma, but I came home last night because he has meetings this morning he couldn’t reschedule. My mom called a few hours later with the news that Grandma had passed. The kids were already asleep, so now this morning I have to tell them the news. I’m heartbroken as it is, although I know that Grandma was almost anxious to go. I worry about how my kids’ will process their grief. This part of parenting is so much harder than the sleepless nights of infancy. Sorry, I know this post is kind of scattered. Any book suggestions and words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

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I haven't had to do this yet.   :grouphug:

 

What I remember clearly when my dad told us that our great-grandmother had died is that he cried with us too.  That has always remained a very important part of the memory because I think he did the right thing to be sad in front of us.  He didn't try to be tough for us, and it gave the signal that mourning was the correct response and there was nothing wrong with it and no reason to "put on a brave face."  Mourning is good and a good hard cry is cathartic.  

 

You can encourage them, when the moment is right, to make pictures, stories, and audio recordings about fond memories with their grandmother.  These can go in a special box maybe, that they have access to.  

 

I'm sorry for your family's loss.   :grouphug:

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I'm so sorry for your loss. It's very special that your children had time with her so close to the end. I think sometimes we want the shield our children from our own grief, but it's okay to let them know how sad you are, to cry, and process your loss together as a family. Since she was so ill and ready to pass, that can make this less of a tragedy and more of a very sad thing that happened. Much love to you.

 

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I am so sorry for you loss and also so glad you were able to spend time with your Grandma before she died. Those will be memories that you treasure.  When my beloved grandmother died a few year ago I found that being honest and open with the kids was very important. It was also helpful to have the kids be involved in the funeral. I talked to my kids a lot about what a blessing it was that we were able to say good bye to their Grandma. We talked a lot about our favorite memories. We talked about how incredibly much their Great Grandma loved them. This would depend on your religious beliefs, but we told the children that she was now with God. We let the kids see our tears and cried together.  At the funeral my daughter did a reading. We tried to find things they could do to be part of the process-putting flowers on the grave, making a photo collage (for the funeral or for home), making Grandma's favorite recipes and talking about her.  It was an incredibly sad time but there was also a lot of love and beauty in it. 

 

May your Grandma's memory be a blessing.

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I'm sorry.   :grouphug:

 

When my mom died, we just told them that Grammy had died. They were 3 and 4 at the time.  We told them and hugged them and prayed.  And they saw me off and on crying, and calling people to tell them, and crying on the phone.  For me the important thing was to let them see me grieve but also to see me carrying on. And we talked about her a lot. 

 

But I had had an example of what not to do.  When my father died, my sister was so overcome with grief she couldn't help her children (ages about 5-13) through it.  I had to parent them (and I was not a parent myself at the time) and help them understand what was going on. One niece felt guilty because she wasn't grief-stricken like her mom, so I had to explain that was OK.  It took a few years after he died before she could even talk about him with her kids, so they forgot a lot about him.  I was the one who told them funny stories about him, or reminded them of things about him.   

 

So, just tell them, and let them know it's OK, because she was sick and wouldn't get better; bring in your faith if applicable,  Depending on their ages, let them know that not everyone grieves in the same way, and that if they don't feel like crying, it's OK.  And talk about her, remind them of happy memories, laugh when you can.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

Edited by marbel
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I understand. My dh's mother passed away very unexpectedly during one night. DH and I woke up to the news. I told the kids when they woke up, while dh was sobbing. It was horrible. But sometimes we must do what we must do. I hope it goes as well as possible for you.

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I am so sorry for your loss. I have no words of wisdom, but I hope you find words that make this path as smooth as possible for you/your children. I will most likely be in the same boat relatively soon (both my grandpa and dad are not well) and already dread having to have this talk with our four littles.

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:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

 

My children lost their amazing and beloved grandma a few months ago. To be honest I don't know much about how they are processing it internally; they don't say much.

 

Her birthday is tomorrow, I need to plan a celebration.

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We just went through this this month. (((Hugs))) I’m so sorry for your loss.

 

I can’t see the ages of your kids, but having done this a few times, my suggestion is to say it as simply and straightforward as you can. Remind them that they might feel like crying sometimes, and they might see you crying, and that’s ok.

 

Follow their lead. I had one ask me for a sandwich after learning the news (years ago). That’s ok.

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I can’t really offer too much in the way of advice. My kids were really young when my father died, and all adults when my mother died. We do talk a LOT about my mom to my grandkids, a couple of whom were old enough to really know her (plus they saw her almost daily). When she died we just made them part of the process. They saw us grieving and they also hear us talk about her a lot.

 

I’m very sorry for your loss.

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My niece passed away when she was 3 and my daughters were 6 and 8. I was very worried about how her death would affect them.

 

A friend of mine gave me a great book that helped explain some things. It's called "Water bugs and Dragonflys: Explaining death to young children" by Doris Stickney. I highly recommend the book.

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I think you simply tell them. Do you remember how Grandma Betsy had a disease? She died last night. 

 

My kids were only 3 & 5 when my sister died from a terminal disease, and I just told them very straightforwardly. They didn't have a problem understanding death, they never thought she might come back or anything like that, but it's something to be aware of with very young children.  

 

As others have noted, make sure they know that their grief is their own. Maybe they will cry, maybe they won't. Either way is fine, and talking about her is fine, even if it makes mom cry. 

 

 

 

 

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I'm sorry.  :grouphug: Three of my grandparents died when I was a child, one of them suddenly because of an accident. The thing I remember being most helpful was that we were with extended family. So there was crying, and there was laughing, and there were stories, and it was all mixed up together. I actually have some sweet memories of sitting around together in a funeral home salon listening to stories told by my aunts and uncles, with lots of laughter. It was very healing. I think it was with the first one (the accident) when I was 8yo, that I had some nightmares and fears about death. It wasn't anything abnormally crippling or anything, but I think for me, it was part of understanding what death really meant. It was the first time I had been around death of someone I knew and loved. As an adult, I came to appreciate that those experiences as a child, and not being shielded from them, helped me to understand that death is part of life, that there are ups and downs with grief, that you do eventually begin to laugh again without feeling guilty, and so on.

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