How do I tell my kids?

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On April 22nd 2000, my mother passed away. That event shaped my life from forever. She is forever in my heart and always in my thoughts, but my kids don’t really know she existed. She of course did, but how do I tell my kids?

Death is a funny thing. Of course I don’t mean it’s funny to die, but that it’s something we will all do but it’s also something most people don’t like to talk about. It’s as if talking about it makes it more likely to happen, which of course isn’t true, so why do people stay clear of the subject?

Talking about death has become an everyday thing in our house, certainly between me and the wife. This isn’t because it has touched our lives recently, it’s because for the past 5 months I have been working in a funeral home.

I try to avoid too much detail when the inevitable “nice day at work?” conversations happen, but its nice to talk about the stories behind the people I have ‘worked with’ that day.

What I have also avoided is answering the kids conversation regarding my parents. The boys have one set of grandparents that they love dearly but sometimes I am asked “Daddy, where’s your mummy?” and if I am honest, I don’t know how to answer the question. My answer normally consists of me mumbling something about her not being around and then distracting them with something shiny, (gotta love kids attention spans).

I’m not religious person and therefore don’t want to give them a religious answer however the theory of people leaving this world to go to another is possibly much easier for a child to understand rather than the explanation I would give to an adult which is in my opinion, you live, you die and that’s it.

Both my parents have passed away. My mum passed away when I was 18 and my father passed away when I was 27 so the kids have sadly never met them.

So you can see my dilemma. When kids ask where somebody who has passed away in your life, how do you deal with it? Is it easier to use the religious angle that they go to heaven and then when the kids are older allow them to make their own decision?

Do you have a ‘off the shelf’ answer that miraculously avoids the multitude of questions of WHY? It’s never fun not knowing the answer to something your kids ask you, but when trying to avoid either scarring them for life or filling their heads with stories of higher powers and a land where you can have anything you ever dream (I mean heaven, not Disneyland) it’s hard to know what’s right.

Have you had a similar experience? How did you explain death and loved ones passing to your kids? because sooner or later I’m not going to be able to get away with the old mumble and distract technique and I am going to have to give them an actual answer……Parenting is hard sometimes!

Please help, comment below.





  1. I haven’t had this conversation with my boy yet (it hadn’t come up) but I’m fairly sure I know what I’ll say.

    In fact, I thought I might have to recently when he pointed at a picture on the wall of a man in a boat by a light house and said, “Look Daddy, it’s you and a lighthouse.” Once I’d gotten over him saying I looked like a man in his fifties, and the confirmation that I do look more and more like my Dad, I explained it wasn’t me.

    It didn’t go any further but had he asked I would have been straight forward and honest and said that my dad had died. At 3 I’m not sure how much he’d comprehend but some films – like Lion King – have helped introduce death, and when we’ve watched it (he got very upset the first time) I’ve talked to him about what’s going on, not using any euphemisms.

    1. But how do you even explain death to a 3 or 4 yeear old?
      They take in so much information, I don’t want to traumatise the poor kids! lol
      We don’t have a lot of pictures around the house other than those of the lids themselves, but I would like to change that, but I know it will lead to all the questions.

      Thanks for the comment.

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