Telling your toddler that grandma has died?

Gina - posted on 04/28/2009 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My mom recently passed away, losing her battle with pancreatic cancer. Has anyone had to tell their toddler (3 1/2 years old) that their grandma/grandpa has passed? They were really close.

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Arwen - posted on 04/28/2009

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I'm very sorry for your loss. =( I'll be praying for you and yours.



I don't have a child old enough to understand things like that yet, but I can remember the first funeral I went to. My Great Aunt Kitty had also passed away from cancer when I was around 3 or 4. My mom was really honest. She simply told me that my Aunt Kitty had died, and now she was in heaven. I want to say I already knew about death. I knew when I saw her at the funeral that she wouldn't wake up, and I knew the part of her that could talk and think was in heaven.

I am very thankful my parents didn't treat death like a tabu subject. Kids take everything so factually, and they are so resilient. When you die, you go to live with Jesus. Her body stays here, but she is not in it. One day you will see her again, but not till Jesus brings you to heaven, too. Your baby will believe what you tell him or her and accept it.



Be ready for questions. I remember asking if I got a bobo, could I see my soul in my body? Why don't I just fly out of my body? Were my parents sure it was stuck to me?

Beatriz - posted on 04/28/2009

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Hi, Sorry about your loss. My father in law passed away in October. He had his cancer in his brain. The kids in our family range from 18-05months old when this happened. I have never been one to lie to my son who just turned 5 especially when it comes to things that we just can't get around. The truth I'm having a hard time with, is explaing sex when that time comes. lol Anyways, we are Catholic and we told them what we believe. We explained what was going to happen as far as the funeral and that his body would stay at the cemetery and that he was in heaven with Jesus Christ. We told the kids that Jesus wanted him to go to a new home and that was heaven. We told them that When Jesus decided for us to go to heaven that we would see their grandpa again but that for right now Jesus wanted us to stay here. The two youg girls who were 2 1/2 when this happend tell people the same. They say " I miss my welo I wish he was here, but he can't be here because he's in heaven. but were gonna see him again , but not right now" The kids all took it well. My son was more curious and wondered why he was in a box and why he was staying there. I remember when i was about 6 and my grandfather passed and I remember my aunts telling me that he was asleep. I remeber hating that because i knew very well that he was dead. The thing that I don't like about the whole sleeping thing is that some kids may be afraid to go to sleep if they see that their loved one still has not woken up. I hope this helps a lil. I beleive, be honest with them and it won't be so scary for them and they will trust that you will not mislead them. Talking with my son about this had really helped my husband with his healing as well. I will pray for you, so that if you do decide to talk to your baby , that evrthing come out smoothly! :)

Melissa - posted on 04/28/2009

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My son was 2 last year when my mom in law lost her battle with colon cancer. And having to tell him that was so hard. He didnt understand. We just told him that Gma was in heaven and that she loved him very much. We have a picture of him and her and he kisses it and tells her he loves her. He knows now that Gma is in heaven watching over him and keeping us all safe. We just wanted very much for him to KNOW her. and remember her. SO we try to talk about her often.

God Bless you and my deepest sympathies. Wish there was a magical phrase that could take your pain away. I think I prayed for that everyday. *hugs*

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