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How to explain the death of a parent to a young child?

Forum: Loss of a Parent


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  • 1 Post By BeYoNd_ExPeCtAtIoNs

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January 7th, 2013, 08:21 PM
EOD_wife's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Posts: 1,763
Hi, I am new to this board and not sure if this is the right place to post. My son is 3 and my husband was just diagnosed with stage 4B pancreatic cancer. The avg. lifespan after diagnosis is 7.5 months. He is not sure if he will try chemo or not because of the quality of life he may have.
My question is how in the heck do you prepare a toddler for something like death that he doesn't even understand? Let alone why he cant see his daddy anymore.
Any feedback will be appreciated. Books, links, articles, anything. I put in a call to our hospitals cancer support group today and am sure I will get some help there as well.

Last edited by EOD_wife; August 2nd, 2017 at 01:36 AM.
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January 8th, 2013, 09:27 PM
Just_Marie's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 28,175
Oh wow, that is really tough, I'm so sorry you're going through this. My twins are almost four, and I'm not sure they'd get the death concept. They know vaguely about Heaven but thats it. My just six year old would get it, but my younger ones wouldn't. Take care and keep in touch ((hugs))

Lucky mother to five!

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November 10th, 2014, 04:03 PM
EOD_wife's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Posts: 1,763
Hi again, visiting again to see if anyone has any expirence of helping a child deal with the loss of a parent. As expected, Max lost his dad in April of this year, just over 6 months ago. Max just turned 5 and is dealing with it in a pretty "normal" way for his age'. Where as he does not understand the finality of death, he feels the void. Even though Jay and. I had divorced, we were able to put our differences aside for the sake of our child and he moved back in with us a year prior to his death so Max could get the most quality time with his dad.We talk openly about Jay and Max loves to look at pictures. He has a great perception of his dad's memory.
We have great family support and Hospice has provided some great grief groups within our community. I feel prepared for how to help my son through his grieving process as he starts to understand more with age, however It would be nice to have another person to able to talk to that knows what I'm going through.
It is incredibly difficult to not be able to "fix" your child's anguish,frustration, hurt.
Anyways, sorry to kind of ramble on, but anyone in a sort of similar situation, I would love to chat!
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December 27th, 2014, 05:00 AM
BeYoNd_ExPeCtAtIoNs's Avatar Mummy2Vincent&Sasha
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 364
Not in the same situation as you.

I am truly sorry for your loss and am sending my warmest and deepest sympathy to you and Max.

I have a 4 year old son and a 2 year old daughter.

I lost my step dad in 2006 and then my mum 3 years later in 2009.
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July 21st, 2015, 05:06 AM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 10
I don't think it every gets any easier. I just couldn't understand the loss of my father when it happened even though i was old enough to understand death to a degree.
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