This has been a very long week- an endless list of things to do, and a schedule to keep to try so that the kidlets’ week would be as normal as possible. But most of the week was filled with talking about death. Actually most of January. When we learned that Nana was in the hospital, we were out to dinner and the Oldest Kidlet asked TheBoy why he was so upset. Having learned my lesson when Blue (our outdoor cat) died, I told him the truth. That she was very sick and went to the hospital.
His next question was, “Is she going to die?” It was the first of many questions.
The Little Kidlet is 5 and hasn’t had any questions at all. In fact, it hasn’t seemed to really sink in at all. But the Oldest Kidlet is 7, inquisitive, logical, and extremely empathetic. Being anything other than upfront about it and letting him guide the conversation wouldn’t be right.
It hasn’t been easy- and a lot of it was uncomfortable (especially since the only other death he knew about was Jerad’s). But when she did pass away, he understood what was going on. And he knows that he can come to us to talk about serious things like this. The only time asked him to hold off on the questions was when we were at the wake, since we didn’t want to upset anyone.
The single most uncomfortable discussion popped up when we were discussing burials, and the Oldest Kidlet asked about Jerad. Who was cremated. The next question, naturally was what cremation was. Do you remember the post where he thought I said bacon came from kids? There was a similar reaction. “THEY BURN THE BODY?” Unfortunately, reminding him that they’re dead didn’t help.
But I don’t regret any of it. It’s allowed him to grieve her in the way that his fact seeking mind can handle. I can’t say that this advice will work for every kid- but don’t be afraid to let them know what’s going on. Kids are a lot more understanding than you think.