Explaining Death To My Child
Explaining Death To My Child
“I love my Mimi, is she living in my heart now?”
I had been feeling sad lately that my daughter hadn’t mentioned her Mimi in a couple of months. The thought of my mom fading from her only grandchild’s memory, would feel like losing her in a whole new way.
What in the world made my daughter think of her Mimi while we sat in the middle of a GAP clothing store, hunting through a bin of brightly colored slippers, I’ll never know. These conversations don’t make me as sad as I once imagined they would, instead, it puts a smile on my face knowing that her Mimi is on her mind.
“Yes baby, we all carry memories of Mimi in our hearts, that is where she lives now.”
“But why can’t she live here anymore?”
“Mimi was very sick, and she couldn’t stay on earth any longer”
At this point I wondered if anyone in the store was overhearing this discussion. I always feel so very aware of what an imperfect and unprepared parent I often am when conversations like this come up. I once heard someone say that you don’t have to offer more information than a child is looking for, just give the simplest answer. When they ask; “where do babies come from?” there is no need to have the sex talk just yet, simply say that that babies come from mommy’s. Helping your child to understand why a grandparent is gone is high on the list of the hardest things to get through when losing a parent, but that advice has always helped me.
The conversation continued…
“Why was she sick?”
“She had cancer.”
“What is cancer?”
“It’s a terrible disease.”
Then Mia turned and faced her Grandma who was there shopping with us, and announced: “You’re going to miss me when I’m gone”. I wasn’t sure at first whether to be concerned about this, or laugh. I decided to laugh.
Books that we love, you can click on the image to see more about them:
Mimi came up again when Mia asked to listen to “her stories” on the car ride home. I pushed play, and the unmistakable voice of Glynis Johns came on reading “Bedtime for Frances”. Every time I hear that voice I am instantly taken back to lazy afternoons siting in the living room with my mom and sister, listing to stories about Frances. Three months before she died, my mom ordered the cd’s for Mia. It was the last gift she bought for her. Believe me when I say that damn CD is NEVER coming out of my car!
I love these bittersweet reminders that Mimi is all around us.
I’d love to know, what are some ways you helped your child cope with the loss of a loved one?And if you have questions for me, I’ll give you my best (and simplest) answer in the comments. Please share and subscribe for more tips on dealing with loss. <3
The Frances stories really are very sweet, and have grown to be some of my favorite from childhood to parenthood. You
can should check them out here:
Have a very blessed day!