Loss: How I Explained Death to My Toddler

In the last few weeks I have had three deaths in the family. Each being significant to me in there own way. The most recent being the absolute most difficult, most difficult out of all losses I have experienced.

Meme (my dads mother) passed away this past week after a long battle. She was such a strong willed, out spoken, caring and loving woman I have ever met. She wasn’t just my grandmother, she was another parent. From a young age she helped my dad out with my brother and I after school. From 2nd grade till high school she would pick us up, everyday no matter the weather. She put up with our daily shenanigans, drove me to practices, and taught me so much about life. From a very young age I looked up to meme, she was a woman who got what she wanted and she had this confidence about her that was just illuminating.

I will forever be honored to of Had such a special relationship, and having her first great grandchild that she absolutely adored. But losing her will be painful for a long time, not only was it hard on me but I had to try to explain to my toddler what death meant and that meme wasn’t coming back. I brought her to pick out a dress herself to wear to church, which gave a sense of positive instead of scary.

The day she passed Skys dad and I sat skylar down and our conversation went along the lines of this:

M+D: “Skylar, know how meme has been very very sick?”

S: “mhmm”

M+D: “last night meme died and went to heaven, she isn’t sick anymore.”

S:”meme died?”

(I obviously tried my hardest but failed and had tears rolling down my cheeks)

S: “it’s okay mumma don’t cry meme will come back” as she wiped my tears

M+D: “no baby that’s what dying means. She isn’t going to come back, she went up in the clouds to heaven. She will always be with you in your heart though.”

S: “meme died?”

M+D: “yes baby do you have any questions”

S: “no, can I have some cereal”

For the next few days randomly she would repeat “meme is dead?” Which was so difficult and heart everytime but trying my best to be strong I would tell her “yes sweety meme died, but she isn’t sick anymore.”

It is such a difficult concept to grasps and being so young, she is incapable of fully grasping it. The open casket confused her even more and we had to reassure her meme in the casket was “fragile” almost like a doll, she started calling her “fragile meme” and wanting to say goodbye. She didn’t completely grasp it, but we as parents did our best to expose her to the realities in life and no lie to her or give false hope.

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