Sunday, October 26, 2008

Talking to children about death

This post was written on the indicated publication date, but was not actually published until after Hayley's Dad had passed away.

I haven't posted anything yet about the fact that Hayley's Dad is seriously ill and that sadly his illness is terminal. I did intend to post something last week when Hayley first visited him, at which point he was still undergoing tests. But I have now decided that I will not post anything for some time, perhaps even until after he has passed. But it is such an integral part of our life and of the experience of being a family that I feel it would be strange, even bizarre, to make no mention of it.

I have been looking for guidance about how to talk to Oliver about his Grampy's illness and prospective death. A particularly full, insightful and helpful article is provided by Hospice Net.

All we've told him so far is that Grampy is poorly and that Mummy went to see him to make him feel better. We also explained when Hayley was tearful that Mummy was sad because Grampy is poorly.

Explaining to a 3 year-old is a balancing act between ensuring you are honest to maintain their trust and not burdening or confusing them with complicated explanations.