We must help the child understand death simply and without metaphors so that misconceptions are not formed. If we tell it that the grandfather has left, it is likely that the child’s question is, when he will return.
If we are trying to explain to the child the death from a religious perspective it is necessary to emphasize in the fact that the deceased is not going to “come back”. The explanations must be very brief, simple and to the point, remember that a young mind can only absorb limited amounts of information.
It is also important that adults don’t hide their feelings and tears before the eyes of children. We must teach them that death is not taboo. It is necessary to vent ourselves for the loss of a loved one, we should suffer and we speak of it freely. Children will do it at the right time and when they get a better understanding of such unfortunate events, meanwhile we must be their facilitators.
We have to be attentive to the fact that children will ask us many questions and these requests require of intelligent and precise answers. The loss of grandparents in childhood or adolescence will always be a very complex matter, and the best thing to do at this moment is to grieve with the whole family and be very careful to any question or needs of your children.
Even if they are not, they are very present
Even if they are not, grandparents are always in our lives, in those common locations we share with our family and even in the oral heritage we offer to the new generations. To new grandchildren or great-grandchildren who were not able to meet grandfather or grandmother.
Grandparents held our hands during the times while they taught us how to walk, but then, what they held forever were our hearts, where they will reside eternally giving us their light and their memory.
The grandfather’s presence is in those yellowed photos that are in a frame and not in the mobile memory. The grandfather is present in the tree that he once sowed with his own hands or in the dress that we still keep and that grandmother sewed it.
They are still present in the smells of cakes that remain in our emotional memory. Their memory is also in each of the wise advice we received from them, in the stories they shared with us, in the way we make the knots of our shoes and even in that dimple in the chin that we inherited from them.
Grandparents are present in our feelings in a deep and delicate mode. They never die, they are more than simple genetics. They show us how to walk at their own pace, a little slower, how to enjoy an afternoon in the country, to learn that a good book has a different and special smell, because they have a language that goes beyond words.
It is a hug language, a gentle caress, a complicit smile and an afternoon walk sharing in silence as we watch the sunset. All of this will last forever and here is where real eternity of people takes place.
In the affectionate heritage of those who really love us and who honor us by remembering us every day.
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