Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Uncomfortable topic?

So, here's one for you ... anyone got any great tips on talking to a toddler about death?

Ellen had a nice man who volunteered in her classroom at school and read books several days a week for over a year. I never met him, but she always talked about him fondly. Unbeknownst to me, he had retired from his job when he found out he had cancer and decided to spend whatever time he had left doing things he enjoyed. It is just about the nicest, and saddest, story. I didn't know he was sick and he died recently.

Here is the sticky part for me ... Ellen didn't know he was sick, either. His family wanted to involve the children in his memorial service and asked for us to attend, which was very nice, yet also very uncomfortable for me. I felt I needed to have some conversation with Ellen about what happened before going, but I also felt that we shouldn't not go just because it made me uncomfortable.

We aren't really a religious family and I feel like I don't have a good framework for discussing death in terms she might understand. She also currently has a total obsession with doctors and doctors offices and the things that happen there. I don't want her to be fearful of getting sick and not getting better.

Turns out we couldn't go to the service for another reason, but I still think I need to address this.


1 comment:

Erin said...

We have not totally broached this subject yet but touched on it a little with recent serious illnesses in our family. Jamie Lee Curtis wrote a book, "Where Do Balloons Go?" that is a good jumping off point for little ones.