how to you explain to your four year old that she cant call her Daddy because he is no longer alive
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Heather - posted on 12/03/2009
I might spin this a little. I agree that telling her the truth is best. Let her know that her Dad is in heaven and you can no longer communicate with him. But that he loved her very much, and his memory will always be with her. Then explain that while you can no longer communicate with him you can still communicate with our heavenly father, who is in heaven with her daddy. Also let her know that heaven is a very happy place, and that her daddy is happy there. Maybe share with her the verse that says there will be no more tears. And that some day, when God calls her, she can go there too, as long as she loves Jesus.
I am sorry that your family has had to experience this, and that your daughter was touched by death at such a young age. God has a plan for your family. I don't know what it is, but keep trusting him.
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Helen - posted on 09/25/2013
I would tell her that daddy can communicate back to her through the brightest star she sees and relate it to that daddy is in heaven and that he is in her heart
take her to the grave or if ashes put photo and flowers and a picture drawn by
her art theoropy is good for healing
Amanda - posted on 04/10/2010
When it comes to a relative that has passed away, and one of the kids is thinking about them or wants to talk to them, we write a letter and seal it with a kiss. (My girls and I put on lipstick and kiss the back of the index card and sign our names.) I then punch a whole in the corner and attach it to a Mylar balloon and send it off. I have told the girls that is how the angels get their mail. But the kids know that they are in heaven with God and are always always looking down and watching over us.
Thanks for sharing this Linda! My kids were such similar ages as you and your siblings were so this helps me to understand a little better. I've also always stressed that their Dad is in Heaven waiting for them and have allowed them to grieve. I think those are very important things. Thanks!!
Linda - posted on 12/29/2009
My Dad died when I was 8--my sisters were 3,6,and 11. It was hard, but it helped to know my Dad was in heaven and that I would see him one day. My 3 year old sister did not really understand that Daddy wasn't coming back for several months. The most important thing is to let him grieve and cry. My oldest sister did not, and she got really messed up psychologically. I have always missed him, but heaven becomes something to look forward to even more when loved ones are there waiting for us. When I grew up, I realized that I was fortunate to have grown up in a Christian home--I realized in many ways a death had been better than a divorce. My father did not leave by choice and loved me very much. I don't know why God took him when he was so young, but I will understand all things when I see Him face to face.
Hi Amanda! The advice you received was great and I won't add to that, but to you and your family. My son was 3 1/2 when my husband passed; he's 6 now and still misses him so much. I remember it being hard trying to explain the concept of death to him and helping him through it. It's a journey and my prayers go up for you. My other kids were 6, 9, 11, and 13 at the time. The missing will always be there, but I'm happy to say we're very happy now and God has taken good care of us. You sound like a good mom who cares, so I know that alone will be a big help in getting your daughter through this.
Amanda - posted on 12/10/2009
My suggestion is to get a special "phone" that she can "talk" to daddy on. Explain that in heaven, you can't talk back, but that daddy does hear you. Maybe even put a picture of daddy up near the phone. And when she misses daddy, she can talk to him that way. I think it would be a good way for her to cope. And keep reminding her that Daddy is with Jesus, and that they both love her very much and she will see them again.
Roberta - posted on 12/06/2009
Three years ago my daughter died, leaving behind a then 4 year old daughter, Liberty. She died unexpectedly of heart failure, leaving us all in shock. During the first week we all were in anguish as to how to explain the funeral to her. Liberty knew Jesus and how He died and rose again. I feel God have me the words which I told her Daddy. He told her what I shared with him. I put together a small picture book about that week.
When she first died Daddy told her "Mommy's not going to live with us anymore. She's with Jesus in Heaven." Liberty accepted that, though it was more on the level of Daddy going on a business trip. Later when she was 6 the finality of it started sinking in. But when she was 4 is was OK.
Liberty knew that Jesus had died on the cross. When he went to heaven he became invisible. That's the way it is with Mommy now, she's invisible too. Even though we saw her body at the funeral, she wasn't there. The part of her that was warm and loved her wasn't there. Jesus' body was put in a grave, and later he rose from the dead, and Mommy will rise again too, though not in 3 days like Jesus. But she will rise again.
I told Liberty that since Jesus is with Mommy, and we can talk to Jesus any time, we can tell Jesus in prayer what we want to tell her, and He will pass it on to her.
I hope this helps. You are in my prayers.
Crystal - posted on 12/06/2009
We recently lost my nephew and his brother and sister and my daughter were having a hard time of it... We took all three to a grief day for kids and it seemed that letting each pick 10 pictures of Tyson and making a scrapbook helped. With the Christmas season here perhaps you could sit and make one together. It could become a good holiday tradition and a good way of remembering him. I know this is hard on you as well. My prayers are with you both.
Bianka - posted on 12/05/2009
My oldest was about that age when his grandfather died. My dad was his world and he wanted to go everywhere with him. He did go to the funeral and I did tell him it was where we were going to say good-bye. He does enjoy going to his grave site to visit him and he understands that grand daddy can't talk back but he is his guardian angel and he can hear what he says. I think if you just continue to tell her that her father is watching over her and that he will always hear her whenever she speaks to him...and that the love he had for her was so strong that she doesnt need to use a phone.
Shayla - posted on 12/05/2009
I was a bit older (9) when my mother passed. My father came home and just told us "Mommy went home to be with Jesus." We were taught about the bible, Jesus, where people go when they die, etc from a young age. My brother and I knew what Dad meant. One thing is to stay WITHIN scripture when you explain things, even to a child. No, we don't become angels when we die. No, we cant talk to our departed loved ones, but like others have said, we can always talk to the Father and Jesus about missing our loved ones. My daughter is 3, and I had to explain where my grandmother went. I kept it simple. "Grammy went home to be with Jesus." and "Grammy is in Heaven, and she is very happy!" and "We miss Grammy, but she loved Jesus and she went to Heaven" and "Grammy is very very happy now she is in Heaven". This was back in March. No problems with my daughter, who spent a lot of time with Grammy from Birth.
Anne - posted on 12/03/2009
Hi Amanda, I so sorry you and your daughter are going through. One thing to realize is that for children they need to grieve at each milestone of their lives. I do agree with Rachel.
I will be Praying for you and your daughter.
Rachel - posted on 12/03/2009
Losing a dad prematurely is so hard. I lost my dad nearly two years ago. She's always going to miss him. From my experience, even though your daughter is so young, it is really helpful to continue to talk about him. Remember with her how much he loved her, the special ways he played with her and made her feel special, things he liked and did, and so forth. This will keep his memory alive in her and help her process the loss.
I agree with telling her that "Daddy went to Heaven." It may help to have her pray and ask Jesus to "give daddy a message for me" and share with Jesus how much she misses her daddy, to tell daddy she loves him and anything else she wants.
I know picture therapy is really helpful for kids, per some counselor friends of mine. So, let her draw pictures about how she is feeling, of memories she has with daddy, things she would like to share with daddy. I love the idea Liz had of sending pictures to daddy with the balloon!
When she is older, she can write letters to her dad. I've personally found this very helpful and a great way to get special memories down on paper. You might even write down some of the memories your daughter has with her dad and give them to her when she is older. She may find those to be treasures since she was so young when he passed away and her memories may become very fuzzy. Staying connected to him will help her stay secure in his love for her.
I don't completely agree with telling her that daddy has become an angel, just because that isn't a biblical concept and it would be teaching her something false theologically. But, I do agree with the concept. Telling her God needed a special helper up in Heaven and it was important that her daddy go home to Jesus. Explain that eventually she'll be able to see daddy again in Heaven and she can look forward to that. From my perspective, though that is encouraging, it is still very painful to know that I have to go through my entire life missing my dad, missing his wisdom and unconditional love and support. But, explaining, as she is able to process this, that God loves her so much - more than Daddy even - and will always be with her, helping her, teaching her, if she wants him to. This is a perfect opportunity for her to learn about God as our Father and commit her life into his keeping.
It's going to be hard. Though maybe some day she will be fortunate enough to have a new daddy to love and care for her like her real dad did.
May God be with you both in this challenging and heart breaking time.
Christa - posted on 12/03/2009
Explaining death to a child is hard. I will share with her what happened (as long as it is in child-like fashion and not terrorizing) to her father. As a Christian Mom I would also explain that sometimes God needs EXTRA SPECIAL angels in heaven to watch over all the little children of the world. Her Daddy is now one of God's angels watching over her and other little chidlren. Make sure that she also knows that at anytime she can sit and talk to her daddy just like she can to God as well. Take a clear glass ornament and put a feather in it.....give it to her for Christmas and tell her it is an angel wing. Maybe it will provide a visual for her that will allow even her as a young child to receive some closure. I will say some prayers for you and her.....this would be very tough.....very tough!!
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