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Thread: Dealing With Death

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    SE Melbourne

    Default Dealing With Death

    As a lot of you know my father passed away almost 4 weeks ago now. We lived with him, well, he slept in the granny flat in the backyard but ate all his meals with us and was in the house with us all day every day.

    Shannen is almost 13 and she has just shut down, basically not talking and has no interest in anything at all..I am not sure what to do!

    Tayla is nearly 10 and is talking about Paman all the time, bursts into tears every day, refuses to go to bed, cries because she misses him so much.

    Hayley has no idea what is happening, but I am sure that she is picking up on the amount of stress around here. She keeps giving me strange looks with her morning bottle, as that was the one that he would usually give her.

    How do I help the girls move on?

    I know that sounds harsh, but I simply am not up to Tayla's tears every day, Shannen being so quiet, its just driving me nuts. There has to be a way that I can help them begin to move on, although I dont think that I am ready to do that myself, but I guess I will have to soon.

    Any ideas???

  2. #2


    Hugs to you Dinky, and congrats for being able to continue yourself.

    Is this the first major death your family has had? Not that it should make a difference if it's not, but if your children have had a death before they may know a bit more how they feel about it IYKWIM. My grandma died when I was 14, but we had a lot of time to accept that, so it's a bit different.

    I've been to a lot of family funerals, and feel a bit bad that only one of them really knocked me for six (and still does). The one thing that helped was being able to talk to someone, our University pastor, just about how I was feeling, so I could make it through the day again. It would be great if you could sit with your girls and have a big talk about it, but maybe seeing you upset would upset them more? Do you have anyone the girls could talk to without it upsetting them?

    Best of luck with this, just wanted to give you a hug even if I can't help and grief is something that hits people hard and just wanted to say it's OK to grieve and everyone needs help sometimes.

  3. #3
    Tigergirl1980 Guest


    Would they be willing to read books? I know you can get picture story books about death, I think there is one that deals with a grandparent dying and I'm sure there are books for older kids too.

    I will see what I can find and get back to you.

  4. #4
    cazoraz Guest


    I'm not sure what you would say to those particular age groups, I spose it depends on how much they understand about your dad dying. This might be a stupid qustion, but have you talked to them about why he died, ie. what illness he had?

    We went through similar recently when DH's dad died in February from cancer. Lucy is only 2.7 but she was really clsoe to her Grandad and visited him a few times a week (they lived a few streets away). We didnt want to say anything to confuse her but I didnt want to lie to her either cos she would have to deal with it sooner or later.

    So in the end I said something like this:

    Me: "You know how Grandad was really sick and in the hospital?"
    Lucy: Grandad sick.
    Me: "Well his body was very sick and very sore and so that he didnt have to be sore anymore he died. That means he doesnt have to be sore or in pain, but it also means we cant see him anymore and he wont live with Grandma anymore either."
    Lucy: Grandad live at Grandmas?
    Me: "No honey we cant see him anymore, and today we are going to go say goodbye to Grandad at his funeral.
    (She stopped talking about now and just nodded as I spoke)
    ME: And we're all going to miss seeing Grandad very much, and it is very sad. You will probably see lots of people crying today cos they will all miss Grandad too, so the best thing you can do is give them lots of cuddles, and if you want to cry too you can ok?
    (Lucy cuddled me and then promptly changed the subject).

    I would just try to have an honest chat with them about how you are feeling and how much you miss him and are sad, and then they might see that everyone's in the same boat, its not just them, and that you can get through it all together.

    Its hard cos everyone grievs differently. My DH is very reserved (comes from a very reserved English family) and doesnt like to show his emotions outside of me & the kids, so its been hard helping him grieve his dad's death as I never know when tis worse for him or not as he keeps it all bottled up.

    Big hugs to you

  5. #5
    mooshie Guest



    you are going through such a hard time at the moment and i know it is so hard to know what is the right thing to do or say to your children. i also know how hard it is to even just try and get out of bed in the morning to function let alone taking care of the family - believe me it took me at least 18mths to be able to "function" after the death of my dd.

    my ds was 2mths shy of his 2nd birthday when his sister died, he saw the deterioration in her from the day she was diagnosed, he even gave her a "biscuit" after she died.

    i really do not know what advise to offer you with your girls as they are a lot older than my son was at the time, in our situation we have felt that the best way we can deal with the whole situation is to talk openly and honestly to our son about his big sister and her death (although lately he has thrown quite a few "curly" questions in respect of dying lately - ie what happens to the body where does it go etc) we have just tried to be honest and answer his questions in the best way we can in a way that he would understand. i have thought about showing him his sister's ashes but we don't feel "right" about it at this time.

    i found alot of support online after the death of my dd, i didn't post in forums much at all, but the reading of other's circumstances did help, maybe try googling something in respect of support for children after death - i am sure you will get alot of sites to help. i guess another option is to maybe get some sort of grief counselling. did you have access to pallative care when your father was sick - i know that eastern pallative care (who helped with our daughter) has grief counselling.

    this is a topic close to me as i don't believe there is enough support out there after the death of a loved one, people sort of give you a magic figure of 6 weeks to "get over it" and then think everything is okay and really it is not. there really should be support there without you having to look for it.

    anyway i probably haven't helped much, just hope you can get through the next few months/years as painlessly as possible.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    Hi Dinky,

    I'm very sorry for your recent loss. I'm not an expert but as it's only been four weeks, it sounds like all of you are still in the early stages of grief.

    The one thing I have learned over the years while working through my own feelings about loss and grief is that it has no timetable ... so often it's just one day at a time and in the early stages, even less than that. Often once the funeral is over, people go back to their lives which is natural but the grieving family is still there and the pain is no less raw. I think in fact sometimes it can be worse.

    I haven't yet had to guide a child through loss and grief so cannot offer you any advice but all I can say is that talking about it and keeping it all out in the open is the best thing to do. Keep trying to talk to Shannen ... she probably doesn't know how to deal with things and isn't sure whether she would hurt you by talking about your Dad. My grandmother died in a car accident when I was Shannen's age so I remember clearly how I felt and not knowing how to help my mother.

    I recently went to a seminar on loss and grief. Later I asked the person leading the seminar a question that I'd been thinking about for years. Does coping mean picking up the pieces and keeping going regardless or does coping mean appearing to have it all together and falling apart at home? He said that people have very different coping strategies. He also said there will always be times when the loss is remembered and felt very badly and that this is perfectly all right, no matter whether it's been six weeks or six years.

    As I said, I'm sorry I cannot be of much help but I just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you and your family at this time and that it is so normal to be feeling the way you are now. He was obviously a special person who was very much a part of your life and it's okay to feel the way you do.



  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Newcastle, NSW


    Dear Dinky,
    I am sorry for the recent loss of your father

    I have been in a similar situation with my children lately following the loss of my baby at 20 weeks 5 days gestation.

    My son (who is 11) didnt know how to feel or what to think... he wasnt really excited about the pregnancy anyway as he was happy being the only boy and his sister being the only girl... after we lost Noah.... James started to feel really guilty, and only expressed a small amount of emotion at the funeral... the other things i have mentioned, he has told us in small, general conversations.

    My daughter (who is 8) talks about Noah all the time, and she cries for him alot too... She will question me about Noah all the time and sometimes she will ask why i am crying, although, she knows why.

    Have you cried in front of your children? because i was told that crying in front of the children, shows them that it is ok to be hurting too... but you still need to reassure them that you WILL be ok... because children will be scared that something like that could happen to their Mum or Dad... It shows them how vunerable we really are, and the whole "dying happens to everyone" really hits home then.

    As others have mentioned... everyone grieves differently
    My love to you and your family

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Outer Eastern Subs - Melb


    Dear Dinky,

    I'm so sorry for the loss of your father. My father passed away nearly 5 months ago so I have some idea of how you are feeling.

    Again, my daughter is younger than kids however she was not in the same situation as you - seeing your dad every day; having meals with you etc so the situation would be very much harder for them, and you.

    There's probably no easy way for them or you to cope however we all manage to 'hang in there'.

    I think it's important - as it's already been said - to talk openly about your feelings, and encourage the kids to as well, even though Shannen doesn't seem to want to at this stage. And yes, it is ok to cry. There are things that even now (Friday was my latest) that just set you off because the situation reminds you of your Dad.

    Perhaps if you can't encourage Shannen to talk to you, that maybe there is someone else to talk to - does school offer some sort of guidance counsellor?/family friend/godparent/priest/best friend's mum... anyone that she feels she can trust to share how she's feeling. If not, perhaps she can write a journal about what she's feeling, how she's coping, how much she misses your Dad. Tayla can probably do the same, even if she'd rather do drawings if she's not so capable of putting her feelings into words.

    Maybe you can plant a rose bush at home - there are some lovely named ones - and it can be a place for the girls to just sit and 'be with' your Dad. A living and ongoing symbol of his presence in your life.

    Hopefully these strategies can help your with the grieving.


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