The Death Talk

Today, we ended up having a hard talk with our kids. A conversation that is never easy and often brings sadness. We talked about death.

My grandmother is currently in the hospital and we are unsure how much longer she has. My grandmother and I have always been particularly close, my kids have always been very fond of her and they hold a special place in her heart. It seemed best to prepare the kids for what might be ahead.

It is always difficult going through your own emotions, when dealing with sickness and death. I can only imagine how hard it must be for kids. I never dealt with it in my youth, having come from a very small family.

We tried to explain that, as Christians, death isn’t something we have to fear. Death is a new beginning, a chance to be without pain and worry. When we pass, we are being taken to a better place.

While the idea of her no longer being here is a little worrisome to them, I believe they are beginning to understand. They know that the Lord may choose to heal her and He may not. Either way, they have the hope of being with her for all eternity.

I think the hardest part of our discussion was when I mentioned it might be best for her to pass. They didn’t seem to understand that sometimes our wanting someone to live, is selfish. We aren’t thinking about what would be best for them, but that we would miss them. Is it right for them to remain, living in pain and discomfort, simply so we can have one more day?

My grandmother has made the final choice… If she goes under, don’t save her. I think she is telling all of us it is time to let go. I think she is ready to let go.

I love my grandmother dearly; I know that what lies ahead is in the Lord’s hands. He will ultimately decide her future. He knows what is best and He knows when she will draw her final breath.

While talking of death isn’t the most pleasant subject, it reminded us all that our lives are not in our own hands. It taught our children that sometimes we need to let go. It gave us something to hope for… eternity.

Have you had the “death talk” with your children? How did your children handle the conversation?


21 thoughts on “The Death Talk

  1. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I had a similar experience that I blogged about 2 years ago…Angels Among Us on my blog 5kidswdisabilities. It was a life changing experience.


  2. I’m so sorry, it sounds like you are at peace though. We haven’t had to go through this yet with our kids, they were too young the last time one of our grandparents died. I like thinking about heaven, you know, if we never meet in this world other than the internet, we can be best friends up in heaven.


  3. My family’s relationship with my grandmother is much like you described yours to be. I have always been the closest of the grandchildren with her, and my children are the ones who are closest to her as great-grands. I can’t imagine, with a relationship as close as that, how it feels, and I am deeply sorry for the pain you and your family are experiencing. I will be praying for you all every night.

    We have had one death talk, but it wasn’t a deep talk, as my children that don’t understand it all very well are only 5, 5, 3, & 1. I think they were all a year younger when this happened, so the baby was only two months old. We just explained that our Great Aunt Margaret was going to be in Heaven, that she would no longer be here with us. We felt like much more of a conversation about it wouldn’t be understood at that age. My boys sometimes mention her, when we go to her brother’s house, because they lived together.


    • Your point is well taken. My children are slightly older (11, 9, 7, and 5), so it made the conversation a little more necessary.
      It was a sad one, but I would rather prepare them than not.
      I am sure she will be greatly missed, but I don’t want her to keep suffering. I think she is ready to go, has been for some time.
      Thank you for the encouragement and prayers. May His will be done!


  4. I’m sorry you are going through this. We had a lot of deaths in our family when my oldest was four. It was hard to understand, but I think it helped him to mature and see things with a more eternal perspective than one could usually expect in a boy so young. You are in my prayers.


  5. We had that conversation with our then-4-year-old … but fortunately it was about pets. A cat and then a dog died within a month of each other. I was grateful, actually, because now whenever I may have to talk with him about a person passing, he’ll already have a foundational understanding of the topic.


    • What an interesting perspective! I imagine having the talk about pets is a very difficult one as well. We haven’t had that one yet, but as we have several pets, I am sure at some point that will need to happen as well. Oh, having two pets pass within such a close range must have been very hard to take.
      Thank you for stopping by and sharing; it helped me understand how this talk might help us bridge to other difficult situations.


  6. Cristina, I’m saddened to hear about grandma. I know how close you are. My heart is with all of you. I know this must also be hard on Margaret. I’m glad you mentioned that sometimes we have to be willing to let go, as much as we might not want to. I’m sure it’s a comfort to grandma to know that you’re okay with her decision. Hugs!


  7. The concept of death is hard for kids to understand; I had the talk with my son a while back. I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother; when she goes, you’ll miss her being with your physically, but there is great peace in knowing she’ll be with the Lord.


  8. Sadly, we’ve had to talk about death with our children more than once, and the oldest is only 7. The worst part? All but one of the deceased family members were children, very young children in fact (the other was a great-great-uncle they liked, but saw rarely). We always explain it the same way. We can be sad for ourselves, but must be happy for them. Even if we miss them, they are living in their eternal reward and cannot therefore be sad.
    Death really has always been just another part of life for us, as we lost three of my siblings when I was only a little over a year old. We talk about our family members, we answer questions about them, and we share stories, the good and the bad. We laugh and remember them, and keep them with us, and as Catholics, we know we are truly connected to them in the Communion of Saints, and every time we receive the Holy Eucharist, they are there too.
    I think the most important part of explaining death to children is to be honest and sincere in it, which you have done.
    We’ll pray for you and your family during this difficult time.


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