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How to talk to children about death

  So far, there have been many major events in my life, one of which is the death of my two children The adult journey and expose them to the fundamental concepts inherent in life.
  It’s everything from how dirty socks on the bedroom floor get cleaned up and tucked away in pairs in a drawer, to why it’s important to feed your goldfish the right amount of food, where babies come from, to why honesty matters. It also includes educating them on the notion that life is limited, through goldfish, the elderly, and those we love and miss.
  Talking to children about death is an important and uncomfortable thing. I want to protect them from grief, but I want them to be ready to face life. Children’s comprehension of concepts such as time and eternity, obsession with what is invisible to the eye, and universality develops with age, and as a result, at different ages, they accept and Look at our words. I understand this in theory, but sometimes I am struck by how well they understand the conversation.
  Here are some examples from our family where you can see how these early experiences developed into an understanding of death, and their misunderstandings are sometimes quite amusing.
Something is wrong with the fish

  When my grandfather died, I was in my 30s and the youngest child had just started kindergarten. Back then, we had pets, including two goldfish and a cat bequeathed to us by a hospice patient.
  The kids loved the fish and we didn’t go to much trouble to keep them from overfeeding them and to keep the cats from eating them.
  The idea is for children to observe the life cycle of pets and learn some facts in a gentler way, such as not being afraid of water (perfect achievement: both children are good at swimming), learning to care for animals (perfect achievement: both Gentle with fish and careful with cats), knowledge of disease and health care (perfectly accomplished: after veterinarians give the cat an injection, they take care of it), and even recognize the eventual death (these three pets are very healthy and strong).
  So, after hearing that my beloved grandfather died suddenly of a lung infection, I explained to my two children, ages 3 and 7, “Your great-grandpa passed away and I’m going to see him one last time. My grandmother and grandfather are very sad, so I’m going to stay with them for a few days, and in a few days Dad will take you to the funeral.”
  When I set out the next morning, I found a spot on the body called “ladybug” “The swimming posture of the goldfish is a bit strange, only the gills and fins on one side are moving. Can goldfish have a stroke? The fish does look sick, but I’m catching an early train and my family is still dreaming. This problem is left to the omnipotent husband to deal with.
  That night, I went to the morgue with my parents. Strangely, the face felt unfamiliar. We kissed my grandfather’s cold forehead, and I got a call from the kids. My 3-year-old daughter told me solemnly, “Mom, ‘Ladybug’ is dead, but don’t worry. We put her in a jar, put her in the freezer, and you can still see her.”
  Kids Little interest in funerals, but a lot of interest in being reunited with cousins ​​after the funeral. Dead fish was the main talking point, and my two children showed their newfound expertise to their cousins.
  My relatives were surprised to learn that the kitchen refrigerator was being used as a “mortuary,” but I’m no stranger to it because my husband is a pathologist.
  I saw the “ladybug” again about 4 days after it died. It was lying in my measuring cylinder, a little green on the cheek, as if ready for a farewell ceremony. I put it on a tissue in the palm of my hand and chatted with the kids about death.
  ”Look,” I said, “it doesn’t move, it doesn’t even breathe. It doesn’t feel anything, it doesn’t hear anything, it doesn’t know anything. It’s neither sad nor afraid. It’s not in pain, not even. Knowing he’s dead.” They stared at it, nodding frequently. One of the children poked it lightly with a clothespin, as if doing an examination.
  ”As animals and plants die, their bodies gradually turn into dirt,” I explained, “which helps new plants grow and provide food for other animals.” Bury the “ladybug” so that its body becomes soil, which helps the plants inside to grow.
  They helped me dig a hole under the bushes and we buried it in the soil using paper towels as its shroud. A few weeks later, visiting friends found out that we were missing a fish and asked what happened. Our daughter looked at her gravely with wide eyes and said in an “explaining tone”: “‘Ladybug’ was sick so mom put her in a hole.”
  It seems they still don’t quite get what I’m saying . Before the age of 5, children do not understand that death is irreversible, or that death means complete loss of function of the body. My 7 year old son was content with burying a dead fish with no signs of life, while his 3 year old sister was quite confused by the whole thing. Maybe she’s a little worried that she’ll get sick!
commemorative plaque

  At the age of 8, the eldest son was baffled by death. It’s a phase of growing up, and it’s driving me crazy, so I can’t separate my life from my work.
  Take the commemorative plaque on a public bench, for example. The son was convinced that the plaque represented the place of death, as if every time he sat on a park bench, or every time he opened a toilet on a bench by the river, he was in danger of being wiped out. “Did they die on this bench?” No, they were put here after they died. “Did they die on the way to this park? Did they fall off a cliff?” No, that’s a sign their family wants people to remember.
  Once you try to avoid your son’s questioning, you will find that no matter where you go, a bench will suddenly appear. Thankfully, after weeks of questioning the bench, he finally figured out what was going on. One day we were walking in the wild. High on the cliff is a bench marked with a plaque commemorating a father who died here while mountain biking with his son. “Cool…” the eldest son asked in a respectful whisper, “Dad, can we bring the bike here?”
  Weeks of work had come to nothing in an instant, and it was all in vain, and we had to start breaking up with him again. To explain it in pieces… This morbid obsession with death is a normal stage in a child’s development. In addition to being curious about the plaque, our son also painted funerals and coffins at this stage, which relate to the stories of the people depicted in the paintings. These all help him put death in a context, for example, in the elderly, or see it as the result of an illness or accident.
  By the age of 7 or so, the children realize that everyone dies, and even they die soon after. This can lead to a period of anxiety, and they will often ask family members to promise not to die. In children’s childhood, we tell them that moms and dads don’t usually leave them to die until they’re adults.

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