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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renesme View Post
    All I know is that I'd never tell my children that the person/animal is sleeping. I'd just tell them the truth.
    DF told DS (with the best intentions) that my father was sleeping. That was fine until DS realized 'the box that went in the ground has my Poppy in it and when he wakes up he'll be trapped!' 18 months later he's still having the occasional nightmare about it.

    I told DS that Poppy had gone to Heaven so he wouldn't be sick anymore. My parents are both Catholic and I wasn't really up for explaining much else to a 4yr old.

  2. #12
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    We have always been very open and upfront about death and it's finality. We've taken the kids with us when we've had to euthanaise our pets and they've sat with the pets as they've passed away

    We've taken the kids to funerals and also they've been there when we've buried small pets.

    My kids were allowed to see my Nanna after she died and got to say their goodbyes.

    We explain things like the body goes back to nature but the persons 'spirit' or essence lives in our hearts and minds to guide us and give us strength.

    The kids have handled and shaken the boxes our dogs ashes are in and they understand cremation and they also understand I want to be cremated - my kids think that's a great idea as I feel the cold.

    We eave and say G'day as we pass the local cemetery - we know of at least 20 relatives in there and quite a few distant relatives too. We don't go to the graveside aft the funeral as I don't believe the person is there - and I've told my kids I won't be hanging around a grave waiting for them to visit.

    We use humor in our family to deal with many things, like when Nanna died we joked that my Pa and Uncles would realize the party was over and it was time to clean up their 'heavenly' house - my kids understand this humor as my grandfather was the tidy one and my Nanna's housekeeping was never the best.

    ETA - we have NEVER used the 'sleeping' explanation - I don't accept the 'sleeping' explanation and awaiting for the return of god to awake and meet him in the clouds.
    Last edited by WorkingClassMum; 25-07-2012 at 08:55.

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  4. #13
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    We follow pretty much what WCM does..the kids know death is final, that the body can be cremated (burned) or buried in the ground (where it decomposes). They talk about death quite openly and without fear. They have an understanding that the "spirit" of the dead person/animal may live on within us as memories, and I think they have some belief in "spirits" in the ghost sense. I don't believe in that really, but my DH does, so I leave them to their beliefs...My DS6 will often sit at the piano and sing to Nanna, who he has never met, which is lovely...

    We don't force our beliefs on them (I'm an atheist) and until recently my DD9 believed in God, although she said to me the other day that she doesn't believe anymore..I asked why not, and she said, because it doesn't make sense. I will leave her to figure it out on own, she's a clever girl and will find her own path.

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  6. #14
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    I had this talk with my boys recently actually. I told them that some people think you just die and your body is buried or burnt, some people think you come back in another body and some people think you go to another place called Heaven.

    My 5yo said he thinks you just die and asked what I think? I told him I agree with him but I do like the other ideas too. And that we will never know until we die and then we wouldn't be able to tell anyone anyway

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  8. #15
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    Very much a mix of what has already been said...I love love LOVE that quote n your OP!

    My three are very curious,and I guess because I have shown no fear (except for leaving them behind) so far they have expressed the same - that they don't want me to die, or they, themselves don't want to die- simply because we won't be together any more -- I take it as an opportunity to talk about living life to the fullest, being nice to each other, trying not to fight etc.

    They have never really asked what happens "after" we die, personally I think this is a preconceived idea, influenced mainly by families' religion...and I'm glad my children don't carry it.

    We talk about the real, the physical and the things we can definitely know...like how the electrical impulses in the body work, how the eyes and ears work, how the brain and heart work, and I guess that once they understand HOW all of that works together it is a fairly simple step to deconstruct that..once it doesn't work..it just doesn't work.

    They have buried two of our chickens and they know where 'they' are, they know that Nana's dog is now a pile of ashes in a special container. They sadly, most recently learnt of the passing of DPs cousin who left behind three children, they stroked my head and asked if "I" was okay because of the sad news, (so proud of their displayed empathy xxx)

    They haven't yet started to get all philosophical/spiritual...and it's not something I feel comfortable planting in them 'to ease' the mourning process [as harsh as that souds ]
    Personally I have lost an Uncle, a grandfather, a school friend, an ex, an aunty and a cousin - all of who I was extremely close to, so it's not like I haven't 'wondered' either.

    We have talked about what 'some people' think, because I do think it is important to discuss 'culture' - so they have heard about reincarnation, they have heard about heaven, the idea of ghosts, rituals that honor the family's dead ancestors annually with flowers and food, etc etc.

    These type of questions are my FAVORITE with young little minds - because I can say, 'what do YOU think??' ...and no matter the answer - from THEM it will lead to healthy and inspiring discussion.



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  10. #16
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    My Dad is an atheist and he said "I believe when you are dead that's it. There is nothing more." I can't ever remember him saying anything else and it never bothered me. He did always preface this as his belief which I think is important. I wasn't ever distressed by it.

  11. #17
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    I agree with so many posts so far.

    I think it's important to be honest and open about it. OP, the quote is beautiful

    I figure that the conversation will revolve around beautiful memories, energy, love and the cycle of life. That we have a limited time on earth, so we should enjoy it as much as possible.

    I will tell them that it's okay to feel sad. It's normal to feel sad when a loved one passes, but we will always have the memories.

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    See this is a tricky one.. Im athiest and so is mum.. She told me from a young age that once your dead thats it.. Etc.. This haunted me.. I thought about death alot.. When I saw a dead animal a million things would run though my head. Death and Graveyards fascinated me.. And to this day still does. Im not sure I want to put ds though this.. Dp thinks life is short why tell him that death is it... Worry him like that.. Im still unsure what il tell him.

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  13. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MinkyJ View Post
    My Dad is an atheist and he said "I believe when you are dead that's it. There is nothing more." I can't ever remember him saying anything else and it never bothered me. He did always preface this as his belief which I think is important. I wasn't ever distressed by it.
    same here. my dad always said 'it's just lights out!'
    i have told my son that when you die, your energy dissipates and just changes form (law of physics) and that it is memories that live on.

  14. #20
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    I will tell my kids that we won't be seeing that person (or animal) anymore, but we will see them in heaven one day.

    I am an athiest, but that doesn't mean I want that for my kids. My mother made me go to church, read the Bible, and spend time with the youth group. I tried to believe, I wanted to believe, I just couldn't. I just don't.

    That said, I am grateful to my mother for forcing me to go, even though I hated it, because it allowed me to make an informed, personal decision. I feel that if I don't tell my kids about God, I will have made that decision for them.


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