Talking to children about their angel sibling

Lindsay - posted on 06/02/2010 ( 30 moms have responded )

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I have a 2 year old daughter and we lost her older sister when she was 15 days old. I have pictures of her and angels in our house. She will look at them every once and a while and say that my sissy shes beautiful or thats my sissy shes an angel. I dont know if I should talk to her about it or just let her go untill shes older. It dosent seem to bother her and she dosent act upset about it. I dont know what to do.

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Victoria - posted on 06/18/2010

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i had a stillbirth at full term before having my oldest son who will be 6 soon he has always know about his big brother he knows that his middle name is the same name that he had and we have photos of him and a special box that he is welcome to look in when he wants to we have always just spoke about jack as if its normal to have a angel sibling and connor seems to have just accepted it when he asks questions i try to be as honest as i can with him about jack like when he asks is he with grandad in the sky etc etc ..... of course we say yes he is he knows that jack is in the pecial garden ... and that we celebrate his birthday and things like that ( i know this is not for everyone but it helps me get through) so in my experience to just talk about the sibling as if it's "normal" seems to have worked for us i hope this helps

Barbara - posted on 06/06/2010

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I agree with all of you. We need to NEVER forget. I have discovered if you do talk about it from the very beginning the children are so comfortable with it. It is us adults who get uncomfortable and anxious. If you answer their questions or acknowledge their thoughts they just move on, do not judge and do not dwell on it. Kids are the best medicine for our hearts, minds and thoughts. Just when you miss your Angel the little ones come up with a hug. They have been blessed with a knack for knowing when we need it.
I wish you all peace in your hearts as you continue your journey.

Jessica - posted on 06/05/2010

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It is very encouraging to me to read how you all handle this. I was pregnant with twin baby girls and at 35 weeks we delivered them both. One of them was healthy and the other was stillborn. On a daily basis, I miss our little Alexis and I constantly wonder how or if I will talk to Olivia about her sister. It is such a strange thing to have the joy of a new baby and the loss of a baby at the same time. She is such a sweet baby and every time I look at her I wonder about her sister and feel such a deep sense of loss. It's the strangest roller coaster feeling - highs and lows every single day. O is almost 6 months old and I still run in to people who ask about the "twins". It is so tough - but I appreciate knowing how you all have handled this in your own lives. Thank you.

Jennifer - posted on 06/05/2010

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I am sorry for your loss. We lost Lizzy (our 4th child) when she was 5 months old. While she was our youngest, I feel that what we experienced may help you and your children.

Don't be afraid to talk about your Forever Angel. Watch for signs from your child you are talking to to see if he/she is wanting to know more, doesn't, etc. This opens the door for your child/ren to talking to you about their older Forever Angel sibling when they are ready.

Our surviving children were 14, 5, and 3. They helped me grieve just as much, if not more, than I helped them. Especially my 3 year old (she will be 14 in August). She would ask about her baby sister, just what she wanted to know, if she needed more info she would continue to ask me.

I hope this helps.

Stacia - posted on 06/04/2010

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I agree that children are affected by the loss also. I just lost my lil girl at 18 weeks pregnant almost a year ago. I have three sons...4 and twin 18 month olds. I was due only 1 week after the twins' first b-day. My 4 year old asked a lot of questions becuase he remembers his brothers coming home from the hospital and he didn't understand why mommy came home not pregnant and with no baby. We told him that Natalee went to heaven to live with Jesus. He asks us questions about her a lot and we answer him because I believe he has a right to know that she was a part of our family. I have realtives that feel that I shouldn't talk to him at all about it and that is something that mommy & daddy should handle by themselves. I have a hard time with this becuase he is old enough to understand that a baby was not brought home.

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Krysten - posted on 08/07/2010

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I have a 2 year old and I have photos all over the house of my first born daughter. My 2 year old looks at them and says "sissy Tayler" I'm not sure if she understands the concept but she knows who Jesus is and knows that they are togerther but I think you can keep telling your child that until when they are fully able to understand what happened, how it happened, and what not when they are at that age and get curious but I did also buy a Pink bunny for my first born to remember her

Eliz - posted on 08/07/2010

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That is a perfect response for a 2 year old to that loss. She is too young to know the saddness and its ok for her to speak lovingly and happy about her sister being an angel. As she gets older she will start to ask more questions about her sister and you will be able to give her the answers. But until then just let her look lovingly at the pictures and keep reminding her of your love for her sister.

Sara - posted on 08/06/2010

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I told Ronny about his angel big brother when he was roughly 4 years old (maybe 3), so he's known that Austin died for about 4 years now. I can honestly say, it wasn't a very easy conversation, but it felt good to open up to him. Anytime I need someone to listen to me, I go to him. We talk about Austin all the time. There are times when he looks up at the sky, and say that he wishes his big brother was here, or that he wished he could go to Heaven to at least meet him. Personally, I think you should tell your 2 year old when you feel is the right time. All children understand things at different ages.

Rachel - posted on 08/01/2010

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I have a while to go before I hit this step since my son is 4 1/2 months old. His older sister would be turning 5 this August. My cousin has two little girls, one is 6 & the other is 4.The 6yr old heard us talking about my daughter, Mariah, & asked why they had never played together. I kind of just sat there, blank, I had no idea what to say & was sad that she would never get to play with her. Luckily, my cousin could see the expresion on my face & saw that I had no clue wha to say. She took her daughter in her arms & explained that Mariah can't play because she has to watch over her & her sister form the clouds to make sure they are safe. She told he to never take her sister for granted (she's 6 so... lol). Then, she said lets take a drive. We loaded up her two girls & she drove to Mariah's grave. The 6yr old is a good reader so she read the headstone out loud, & then put 2&2 together. She looked at me & had tears in her eyes, came over & gave me the tightes most loving hug (by this time I am a bawling mess). She told me that no matter what Mariah would always be my baby & I would always be her mommy. The 4yr old hugged me too, but she still is a little young to understand completely. I will never again think a 6yr old can't understand what pain & loss is, because she seemed to almost know how hard it was for me to have lost Mariah. I now have a 4 1/2 month old son, & the 1st day she got to meet him, she let him know he has a sister in the clouds watching over him in Heaven. Kids can be the sweetest little ppl. I don't know how I will tell my son about his older sister, but I just might ask Kadance for help when it's time.

Tara - posted on 08/01/2010

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I think you should tell her if she talking about her sister I think so is ready to know just keep it 2 year old talk I am very sorry for your loss of losing your beautiful girl

Jamie - posted on 07/30/2010

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I have 5 year old daughter who just lost her baby sister (21 weeks gest.) and she talks about her all the time freely with anyone. I let her because it helps her understand better why her sister isn't here. Hope this helps a little. God Bless.

[deleted account]

Sorry for all of your losses. I have a 4 1/2 year old. We lost his little brother last week. He was born 14 weeks premature and he was with us 8 months. He never left the hospital, but we visited all the time (mom and dad daily, big brother 2-3 times per week). Baby's lungs were underdeveloped and never could catch up. Big brother came in the room to say good-bye and we told him that baby would not be coming home with us. Big brother has not asked any questions yet. Should I bring the subject up or wait for him to ask questions?

Yonika - posted on 06/21/2010

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Hello, I am sorry for your lost. I have my son ashes on my fireplace in my living room so I could see my baby boy everyday. Anyway, at first my kids was asking me a lot of questions but beleive it or not by answering their questions help me to be able to talk about him without crying. I also, pray and ask God everyday to give me the strength to keep living and to be strong for my other children but, don't get me wrong I think about him all the time plus, talk about the moments that God let me share with him. I thank God for the 2 months and 2 days that he blessed me to spend, hold, kiss, talk to, and rub him from his head down to his little feet. GOD IS GOOD and HE IS ALMIGHTY. BE BLESSED!

P.S. Let her know about her sister and aswer her questions because it is making you stronger and more easier to talk about your baby. Remember she was God sent and she was already an angel. Babies are a blessing from God and you are surpose to tell and talk your blessings to everyone.

Teresa - posted on 06/17/2010

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I'm very sorry for your loss, I too lost my son Robert in Dec,2009 I have 4 older girls and 1 younger son Eric, he was 14 months when Robert died, Eric looks at Robert pictures everyday, and he talks to Robert like he is here, Also when we go see Robert at his grave site, Eric will run and sit leans forward to give Robert a kiss. Eric calls him BABERT.. it so cute... thank you for sharing...Teresa.....

Betsy - posted on 06/15/2010

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my daughter passed on at 1year when her brother was 3.we went to the hospital and came back without her.He demanded to know where his sister was because he loved her so much.At first, we dint tell him because we were afraid he wouldn’t understand. He became too persistent and finally we sat him down and we told him baby Vanessa had gone to be with the lord. The next thing he said was He also wants to go to the lord. We had to explain y people don’t come back when they go to the lord, other times he would say “mum I am missing baby Vane will take me tomorrow to the lord to see her?”I had to keep on reminding him when one goes to be with the lord he/she doesn’t come back, and we cant go to visit her, now he understands that, so when he misses her he goes kisses her portrait and says I love you! This always makes me cry!

Amanda - posted on 06/14/2010

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i dont have any more children but one of my cousins was 15 months old when my son died and to this day, (she is now 3 years and 8 months old) she will talk to me about him. She tells me all the time that "Koee" is what she calls him, is up in heaven with grandpa and that grandpa can hold him now. I have pictures of her holding him and smiling. We couldnt let her go in the room during his viewing because we were afraid she was gonna go up and try to pick him up and hold him. She loved him so much. she knows him. she asks me a lot why he is up in heaven with grandpa (who died last august of cancer) and i honestly tell her i don't know, i guess God just needed him more than i did. I know that when i have more kids Koen will be the first person i introduce them to. They will know from birth that they have an older brother that loves them and will always be there for them to talk to. I will not hide pictures and when they start talking about it and asking questions, i will answer them just like i answer my cousin. Truthfully.

Brandy - posted on 06/11/2010

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I have a 7 year old and a three year old sons that has lost a brother and a sister. My three year old does not know his brother but does know his sister. The only thing we told them when they died was that they went to be with juses and there grandfather . As well as that they will get to see them soon . (To my 7 year old only) I would not go to much more into it with them until they get older.Becouse they wont really understand any of it . I remember when we told our oldest that his sister was not coming home I think that was the hardest thing that i ever had to say to any one . He only thing he could do or say was to screem and cry and ask why. But we waited until that after noon to tell him .Becouse we where like you how do you tell a child that there sister or brother was not ever coming back home. We thought about it alote and decided to just tell him and wait and see what quistions he would ask and do the best we could with them. I hope that some of this will help you . If you have any thing you can email me at www.brandymorris24@yahoo.com

Tiffany - posted on 06/11/2010

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I have to admit I have found it easier with my 4 year old to talk to him about his older brother (he would have been 7 in January). It was much harder on me to hear my son say "no, I don't have any brothers or sisters." than it is to hear him say "my brother's in heaven." It made me feel like we were saying Dakota never existed and that broke my heart more than being reminded that he was gone because at least I know that even if it was just for a fleeting moment we were blessed to have him in our lives and we were able to touch his hand and hold him before he went to be with God.
It's almost like Conner has a sense of pride that he has a brother that no one can play with except him. He will sometimes be playing by himself and talk to his brother. It's not often but it warms my heart that he remembers.

Lizette - posted on 06/11/2010

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I have a 6 month old baby girl and before her I had another baby girl who was a stillbirth. When she is getting older I will tell her about her older sister and that she is an angel now and with daddy GOD who takes care for her. At this point I dont think she will know what it means to loose a sibling or how it feels. My mon also lost 2 children before us and I myself didnt feel upset because I didnt know my siblings. So that is why I had no relation to them and could miss or feel sad about it.

Nicole - posted on 06/09/2010

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We lost twins in our second trimester and another baby due to an ectopic pregnancy and our other children were 5, 4, and 2 years old at that time. It was our oldest son's idea to add his siblings to our nightly prayers. At Christmastime, we hang a special stocking for each of our lost children plus the ones we have and we have a special angel ornament with the year we lost them on it.
My husband for our anniversary gave me jewelry as an anniversary gift as well as a memory towards the children we've lost, I wear them on special occasions. Lastly, we have a special planting box attached to our patio that we only plant special flowers in as a memorial to our lost children.
Our other kids, now 7, 6, 4 and 1 will always know about the siblings that they would have and that they are with us always in spirit and heart. The twins would have been 2 and the other baby would have been 1 1/2. My other kids still ask about them once in a while and we try to answer their questions as best we can. We are able to talk about them now, without crying and only the mildest pain, although it still hurts. Best of luck to you.

Wendy - posted on 06/08/2010

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Lindsay, I lost my middle child in 2004. My oldest definately knows, she is almost 10yrs old. At first I didn't tell her, i definately still "hate" people for their un-sympathetic remarks...and I was very quiet to my other child who was 4 at the time. I was a happy person everyday to crying every second of everyday, I couldn't mother her or let her out of my sight (anxiety) and I was just READING AND READING searching for an answer, searching for support. I felt closer to strangers than my own family. Finally one day, she came to me on the hammock and was crying too ;) I asked what was a matter (as I looked from my book and wiped my own tears away) she didn't know??? At that moment I knew I had to tell her, she had internalized my sadness. So I just decided to tell her Im reading a sad book that is helping me with my sadness (I used a dinosaur and kids appropriate words) but as I turned the pages and told her the short version, she understood and got it and I could tell she was so relieved it wasn't about her...and I ended with how she will always be in our hearts and we can love her forever etc. it actually helped me too I think ;)

Jennifer - posted on 06/06/2010

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I'm from a small town and word traveled fast. They were all so supportive, however I was given the "sad" face look. You all know what I am talking about. And everyone was afraid to even talk to me, you know, talking about a child's death is taboo. So they think. We all know, talking about our Forever Angels is what helps us grieve, helps us remember our children. While talking about my Lizzy produces tears, they are not tears of pain anymore. They are tears of joy and gratefulness that I had her for the 8 months I carried her and then 5 more months.

I remember the time I was at our small, locally owned grocery where I was working at when we lost Lizzy, and one of my lost, but good friend's mom saw me and asked me how we all were...and as she said "how is your beautiful red-headed baby girl" did I realize she had not heard the tragedy. I said, matter of factually, "she's dead". I can laugh at how I handled that now. But then that's how I was- a machine going through motions of life with feeling and emotions.

[deleted account]

Hi, I very firmly believe that just because some one passes on from this lifetime doesn't mean that they are gone or forgotten. I lost my middle son when he was 5 months old, my 3rd son was born 5 months later. We have never stopped talking about Liam or anyone else in my family including my husband who dies suddenly 4 years ago. Both myself and my children still feel that they are with us (very strongly). The hardest part for us is not being able to touch them. My advice is to never stop talking about your little angel, it helps you and helps to keep their spirit alive. xx

Nicola - posted on 06/04/2010

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We lost our oldest daughter (aged 7 years) last year to a brain tumour we didn't know she had until it was too late. Up until then she had been a much loved, mostly healthy and very happy little girl. Her younger sister was 3 and a half years old when her big sister died so is old enough to remember her and our family life. She had to be cared for by her Grandma while we were with our eldest in hospital (from the time we found out about the tumour until she died was 7 weeks and I didn't go home once during that time!) She visited us and was able to stay in hosptial accommodation during this time and when we made the decision to move Emily to a hospice - as we did not want her to have to die in a clinical environment but were unable to take her home - we decided that Holly should be with us so we could spend Emily's last days together as a family. Holly was wonderfully cared for and entertained by the staff at the hospice but she also got to spend peaceful time with her sister. Some may say this was a wrong thing to do but we did it partly for the future so that when she comes old enough to ask more indepth questions about what happened we can let her know that she wasn't excluded and that her sister loved her very much and wanted her there. Ifshe had seemed distrubed at the time we would have sent her back to grandma but she didn't. Holly seems to understand what has happened and knows that Emily isn't coming back becuase she was too sick for the Doc to fix etc. and that she has gone to be an angel. She talks about her all the time and remembers things they did together and Emily is obviously still a part of our family. It would feel so wrong not to mention her becuase she did exist and was and is still a central and very much loved part of our lives. We all miss her terribly and I know that Holly is lonely without her sister. I know that the years ahead will be difficult for all of us to deal with us and we have tried to be as honest as possible and will have to deal with situations and questions as they arise and provide as much information as we think she can deal with. Hope this has helped a little - it has helped me to write it! Thinking of you and knowing you will do what is best for you! x

Marsha - posted on 06/04/2010

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Sorry for all your losses, I to have lost a baby boy at 34 weeks, due to complications with the baby. I also have two older boys they were 6-7 at the time, and I needed to decide if I was going let them see him or to hold him.I Know we wanted to have them with us at the hospital so they were close by. So we had decided that they wouldn't get to see or touch him. Long story short we included them all the way and explained the best we could. Its been two years know and I still get "I miss chase mommy" I thought it would be harder with the constant reminders from them, but I found it nice to know someone else is missing him and isn't afraid to tell you, or to talk about it. Not saying it was easy but when your child walks up to and gives you a hug with such love because your sad, nothing can compare. nobody else can say the things they say to you without hurting you. Most of the time I found they would do or say exactly what I needed. I guess my point is our children have also shared in a loss of a brother/sister, and we should help each other through the loss together.

Michelle - posted on 06/03/2010

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My husband and I just include them (I lost 3) in conversation every once in a while. I wear a necklace with all of their birthstone ring on it and we talk when they have questions or want to know where they are. We answer the questions simply. God knew there was a problem or they are in heaven. How old are they? is a common question and we tell them accordingto the ages of our living children. Be honest and just answer the basic questions. As they get older the questions change and so will your answers. If you are honest and answer the questions, I haven't had them repeating it to others very often. This also has helped us in the healing. Kids will ask and sometimes be insensative and I do tell them, that it hurt my heart. When others, comment I just say our babies in heaven, this usually ends the conversation, so you don't have to sit and explain unless you want to. We feel the 3 in heaven will never be forgotten, but not an everyday conversation either. They will always be part of our family and thoughts. Hope this helps.

Rosita - posted on 06/03/2010

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Sorry for ur loss Lindsay. I have 3 children. a son who is 7 in a half a daughter who would have been three and my other son who is 10 in a half months. My daughter pass when she was 17 months old her older brother at the time was 5 going to be 6. We always talked about his little sister and remember the things we did as a family. after giving birth to my 3rd child from the moment we brought him home we showed him pictures of his big sister Deja and he would try to coo and ca to her. now that the baby is older he looks at her pictures and trys to get them. I have pictures of my children threw out my house but mostly pics of Deja in my room. The baby looks at her as if he wants to grab her and he even says Deja. we ask him sometime wheres big sister Deja and he looks around and up as if hes lookin for her. its cute bc he does that as soon as his big brother is home from school. kinda like he knows who she is. Sometimes when we lay him down to sleep in his crib he lays there and talks, even sometimes sayin Deja like shes with him.

For me I think its good to talk about my daughter with all of my family it just helps me remember her more. I think its good for her little brother to know her too bc it is his big sister after all. I also take him to her gravesite to visit her. not a day that will ever go by thats shes not missed or love and by us talkin about her all the time makes her still with us in a way.

Hope the best in life for u and if u ever need a friend im here. tons of love and hugs ♥ Rosie

Lindsay - posted on 06/02/2010

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Thank you guys. I have a stuffed animal that we bought after we lost our daughter ( actually we built it at build a bear ) and she wants to play with it and I just cant bring myself to let herpl ay with it. She is still really young but everyone and a while she will say something like I love my sissy or my sissys an angel. She never talks about it alot or seems upset by it she just seems content. And your right I dont want someone to say something about her sister and her get upset or feel like we have lied to her.

Angel - posted on 06/02/2010

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i have a 3 year old son and recently lost his younger brother 2 months before he was due because the cord got kinked. i dont know what to tell him every once in a while he will thouch my belly and say hi baby and i tell him luke hunny pauls in heaven and he seems ok and i dont know if he understands and how i will tell him without making him feel bad about mommy crying when he says that im just lost and dont know what to do..

Tamara - posted on 06/02/2010

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Sorry for your loss. I was wondering the same thing because my daughter will turn 3 this month and I have her older sister's ashes tucked inside of a stuffed animal. She's asked several times about this stuffed animal that's in my closet and I don't know what to say. Mostly I'm afraid that if I do talk to her about it that she'll talk about it constantly the way 3 year olds do and keep reminding me. I never forget of course but I don't know how I'll feel hearing it out loud 5 times a day and how I'll explain it to other people who will be confused and ask, "What Sister?" I don't like to talk about it with other people because I always feel like they will say something insensitive and then I'll lose a friend. I remember every person who said something thoughtless to me when I lost her and I hate them to this day. I know hate is a strong word and that I should get rid of it but I'm still dealing with it.
So......that was a lot of rambling and not much advice, just wanted you to know that I'm in the same boat and don't know what the heck to say.

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