I recently wrote about my close friend that was dying. On September 9th 2012, she lost her battle with cancer. Darlene was very dear to me, I took her death harder then I thought I was going to and it was harder yet to try to explain it to my son. Darlene was Alex’s godmother.
My husband and I sat Alex down and we told him that Darlene had been very sick, that her body was tired and she could not fight being sick anymore. We told him she went to heaven and that she was not sick anymore. She was with Jesus now and she was all better in heaven.
Alex seemed to take it pretty well, he asked a few questions, was sad but over all I thought he did really well with it. Later that night I had to take him to the ER because he spiked a fever and was crying that his neck hurt ( he ended up having strep ) While we were sitting in the room waiting for the doctor he suddenly started to cry. Then he asked me if he was really sick like his godmother and would have to go to heaven. My heart sunk, he did not understand what we told him as much as I thought he did. I gathered him in my arms, rocked him and reassured him that he was okay, the doctor was just going to look him over and he was not going to heaven. I tried to explain that the kind of sick Darlene had was much different that what he had.
The next day I talked with him again and asked him if he wanted to go to the funeral. I had not planned on taking him, I thought he was to young but after what he said at the doctor I wanted him to have a choice. He decided he wanted to go. He wants to be there with me and be there to see his godfather. He did really well, I was surprised at how well he did. He sat there by me or on my lap and held my hand while I bawled. He only cried one time at the very end of the funeral. He did so well and acted so grown up.
Even though we lost my husband’s grandma last year, this was a very different experience for Alex. He seemed to understand it better when she passed because she was a lot older and had been sick most of his life. Darlene on the other hand, was younger, he had just spent time with her a few weeks prior and she did not seem sick to him at all.
I am sure that he is going to have more questions for me as time goes on and I am going to do my best to answer him in a way that will make him feel better. There is no easy way to go about this topic with kids and I wish there was.