Friday, 15 June 2012

Dealing with the topic of death

On Monday night when the grandchildren were here our topic of conversation got onto Shorty dog. Fifi was telling me how much she misses her, not really sure why as the dog never liked children, including our two. But I suppose just the fact that Shorty has always been here, that she was quite happy to go near the children if they were feeding her, or they would open the door for her to go out, she has just been a presence since before either of them was born, so they have never know life without her.

As those who follow my blog with know we brought Shorty home in her urn last week, and so we got talking about her. Bob said to me "Mummy says Shorty has gone to sleep", to which I told him, "no Shorty is not sleeping she is dead". Not sure this is what his mum wanted me to tell him, but really don't want him worrying that if him, or his sister, or any other family member goes to sleep they are not waking up again.

Fifi says she misses Shorty dog and I told her so do grandma and granddad and that it is ok to miss somebody when they have died. I went on to explain that everybody dies and that one day grandma, granddad, Mummy, F, etc etc will die. That when they have gone she will miss them as well, and that she will feel sad and that she will cry and that that is normal, but that we have to remember the fun we had with these people and the happy times and the memories.

We had had a random conversation the other week  when Fifi had asked me whether it hurt to die, to which I had to answer I didn't know as I had not died before. She then asked me what happens to you after you die, to which again I had to tell her I did not know.

The conversation then turned to what happened to Shorty after she died. So I pointed out the urn on the dresser that has her cremains in, and asked Fifi what it said on top, so she read out Tango (Shortys proper name)  to which I was asked how she fitted in there. I explained about cremation, and likened it to mummy smoking a cigarette and how it turns to ash and becomes a lot smaller. We also talked about funerals and burials and graveyards, to which the children can relate as there is one across the road from their house.

I do not see the point in not talking about this subject, it cannot be avoided for ever, Fifi and Bob's paternal grandparents died before they were old enough to know anything about it, and so really this is the first bereavement they have come across.

We talked about Rainbow Bridge and that Shorty would be running free and waiting for Grandma and Granddad to come along and spoil her again!!

How do other people feel on this topic? Is it something you would talk about with your children? Fifi did ask more in depth questions than Bob, but that is normal, and so I tried to relate the conversation to what I thought they could understand.


  1. I think you made the right decision correcting Connor's comment about Tango sleeping, as like you say you don't want them to be fearful of going to bed.

    The first time we had to deal with death was with Kiki, Minxy's hamster. She asked why she wouldnt wake up and I explained that she was old and had died. I also added that sometimes when people are old or poorly they die and then she asked about where they went I said the body stays here but that some people believe in heaven and that perhaps she was there.

    I think it's important to be as honest as possible without scarying them.


  2. I think it's important to talk about these things in a real way, my two kept talking about how our cat had 'gone to sleep' and we had to explain that when something dies, it never wakes up again and that it's totally different. Better that than have them worry about going to sleep in their own beds and not waking up again. Such a difficult topic to talk about though, especially at sensitive times. :O(

  3. I agree and its nice to see how other people deal with it.


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