How I explain death to my children
Death is inevitable. No human being can avoid it. It’s like a debt we all owe. But children find it hard to understand what it means for someone to die and never to be seen again.
When a loved one dies, children feel and show their grief in different ways. How they cope with the loss depends on things like their age, how close they felt to the person who died, and the support they receive.
It is the duty of every parent to explain death to their children in ways they can understand without confusing them or instilling fear in their hearts. Even though it can be a very hard thing to do, taking things step by step would help in explaining the concept of death better to children.
For Mr. Kingsley Ibekwe, his family is still not over the death of his mother who died after a brief illness. Three months after her death, he is still questioning God why it had to happen now. His daughter is not also helping matters as she keeps asking him when Grand ma would return.
After trying so hard to get his children to stop questioning him about death and dying, he came up with some strategies on how to explain it well to them. For starters, he used simple, clear words to explain things to them and give them moments to take in his words.
After the death of his mum who dotted on his children, he made it a point of duty to listen to everything his children have to say about her and also comforts them. He also told them what to expect by informing them they would no longer see grandma whenever they travel to the village because she’s not coming back. This way, they know what they are dealing with.
In addition to the above, he responds to their many emotions with comfort and reassurance. Whenever his children seem sad, worried, or upset because they can’t make a meaning of their grandma’s demise, he listens. He informs them that it takes time to feel better after a loved one dies.
Mr. Ibekwe also helps his children feel better by providing the comfort they need. But in doing that, he also doesn’t dwell on sad feelings. After a few minutes of talking and listening, he shifts to an activity or topic that helps his children feel a little better. They play, make art, cook, or go somewhere together.
He also gives them time to heal from the loss. Grief is a process that happens over time. So, he has ongoing conversations to see how his children are feeling and doing. Healing doesn’t mean forgetting about the loved one. It means remembering the person with love, and letting loving memories stir good feelings that support us as we go on to enjoy life.
Even though they still ask him many questions about the death of their grandma and why God allowed it happen, he relaxes them with sharing beautiful memories of their grand ma with them.