When is it okay to talk about death?
My experience with the conversation of death came very young. We talked about death of bugs, then grew to animals and moved to people.
We experienced the death of people conversation when my oldest was 2 1/2. Her father passed from cancer. Prior to his passing, we knew separation was going to be tough. I worked while he cared for her at home up until this point.
Things were odd as we began a divorce prior to knowing about his death sentence, then the company I worked for closed it’s doors. At this time, I was a single stay at home mom. We shared 50/50 custody at first. Once we found out the cancer was terminal, we decided to seek counceling. Our counselor suggested working through our school district to find additional help for our daughter. Luckily, they had support who visited our home 2 to 3 times a week to help as she laid on the floor screaming for her dad. He and I chose to do a weaning process, since he didn’t want us to see him so sick. He said he wanted her to think of him as superman and not to fear him as a dieing cancer patient.
The separation was real. At this point 50/50 moved to every other weekend due to his illness. He wanted to see her one last time for Christmas, but called and cancelled. He wasnt sure he could do it knowing it would be his last time. It was so emotional. By the time he passed, she had enough information to know that he will always be with her.
Before he passed, he wrote a letter to her that was sweet and expressed his love. She cherishes this letter.
By explaining death to her in a calm manner, over time with more details with each new conversation, I believe she was able to accept his passing with more understanding than if we didn’t use counceling.
Of course she asks about him, but she does not fear him or cry for his death. Even at 2 1/2, she understood.
Since then, my daughter’ grandma on both sides and others have given her practice with the idea of death. Although this was very tough on him, I respect that he took “the benefit of our child into consideration”. A very strong decision to keep her safe from tears and confussion.
I think it’s okay once the opportunity presents itsel